Election in Kazakhstan turns into referendum
By Vestnik Kavkaza
About 3500 observers will watch the early presidential election on the spot in Kazakhstan on April 26th, RIA Novosti reports, citing the deputy head of the Assembly of Peoples of Kazalhstan, Anatoly Bashmakov. At the moment, a mission of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has already arrived in Kazakhstan. ODIHR members will observe the voting. The Central Electoral Commission registered three candidates: the current president of the country, Nursultan Nazarbayev, representing the Nur Otan Party, a candidate from the Communist Party Turgun Syzdykov, and the chairman of the Federation of Labor Unions Abelgazi Kusainov.
Political scientist Daniyar Ashimbashev believes that in the last 20 years Nursultan Nazarbayev has had no competitors in the political field: “Not a single figure is capable of winning more than 10 percent or represents a potential threat, or at least even claims to be a person capable of taking away his victory. The elections are being held early, as the legitimacy of the government in connection with the current situation has to be confirmed. The fact is that external pressure is increasing, and there are also economic problems.”
According to Ashimbashev, given the lack of alternatives to Nazarbayev as the leader of the republic, the elections are a referendum on confidence in the president and his political, economic, social and integration courses: “Kazakhstan is actively involved in the integration of the post-Soviet space, and recently went into advanced integration within the Customs Union, and now with the Eurasian Economic Union, causing quite a negative reaction from a number of countries that are actively engaged in discrediting this direction of work, especially since the Ukrainian crisis that is caused by the West, this is the reason for the significant and growing information and political pressure. It is known that those sanctions that have been imposed beat the interests of Kazakhstan as well. Therefore, the election process is being transformed into a referendum, addressed to those who intend to change the power or to change the foreign policy priorities of Kazakhstan that the population support. According to current surveys, even without the campaign, the president's rating surpasses 90%. And the election is our response to the risks that have lately transpired under external influence.”