Kazakhstan needs consolidation of elites
Inauguration of the elected president of Kazakhstan, Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev, took place on June 12. 70.76% of voters voted for him. Opposition candidate Amirzhan Kosanov came second with 16.23% of votes. Now, according to experts, new president will have to concentrate his efforts on resolving actual problems and issues in various areas of public policy.
Presidents of Russia, countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and the CIS have already congratulated Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev on his convincing victory and reaffirmed their desire to strengthen both bilateral relations and relations within the framework of integration associations. Donald Trump also sent congratulatory telegram. According to press service of the President of Kazakhstan, Trump, praising the joint work with first President of Kazakhstan and leader of the nation Nursultan Nazarbayev, noted that he was looking forward to same productive relations with Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev.
However, no drastic changes in foreign policy are expected in the near future. As experts say, all attention of the second president will be directed at improving internal political situation, developing social and economic programs. This was discussed during the international conference “Transit of Power - New Kazakhstan: Consolidation of Elites”, held yesterday in Nur-Sultan at the “East-West” International Center for Geopolitical Forecasting.
Doctor of political Sciences, president of the “East-West” International Center, Karlygash Nugmanova, stated that “economic problems have become a great challenge for all regions in the context of sanctions confrontation, which must be immediately dealt with. In these conditions, consolidation of elites will allow new president of the Republic of Kazakhstan to carry out complex reforms and update state system, confidently protecting national interests in international arena and continuing the policy of preservation of domestic political stability and further consolidation of Kazakhstan’s society,” she noted.
Moreover, a number of previously adopted state programs and concepts will no longer be in force soon. For example, concept of development of local self-government in the Republic of Kazakhstan or concept of legal policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2010-2020; concept of the state youth policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan "Kazakhstan 2020: Path to the Future" and a number of others must be replaced soon. "A lot of developments of new concepts and state programs on these issues with involvement of representatives of various parties, NGOs and independent experts will begin soon. And in this situation, consolidation of elites around new president is especially needed,” Karlygash Nugmanova said.
Political analyst Daniyar Ashimbaev called situation in Kazakhstan unique - the country basically has two presidents. In an interview with Central Asia Monitor, he noted that despite the fact that Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned, he also constantly demonstrates his status as the “first president”. “And this is quite understandable - he has all necessary powers for this: both as head of the Security Council and head of the Assembly of the Peoples of Kazakhstan, as well as the Nur Otan party and the Samruk-Kazyna fund. He himself recently joked that he had become more of a media figure after he resigned... The question is, will Nazarbayev want to participate in the governing process more actively? Theoretically, he has this opportunity, but there's no practical precedent. Few people expected such activity after his resignation.
In Ashimbayev's opinion, the first president's factor, although it guarantees some stability, holds back resolution of issues that second president would like to speed up. “There's no doubt that Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev has certain views on future reforms, but the need to coordinate all actions with the first president because of his status will determine the nature of development of situation in the country."
Deputy director of the “Eurasian Monitoring” Center for Analytical Research, Zhanar Tulindinova, believes that priority task in the post-election period for Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev is to resolve personnel issues and form his own team. As Tokayev has already stated at the press conference, the government won't resign after its inauguration. Nonetheless, Tokaev announced that “targeted personnel appointments” should be expected.
“I believe that there was a stable elite consensus during transition of power in Kazakhstan. In the face of risk of losing status quo, the elite mobilized around the figure of elected president, which is likely to make it easier for him to communicate with various groups of influence," she noted.