Kazakhstan is pioneer in the post-Soviet space in terms of updating its political elite
Last Sunday, early parliamentary elections were held in Kazakhstan. Representatives of six parties were competing for 98 seats. In addition to elected deputies from political parties, 9 MPs are appointed by the Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan, who represent the interests of the ethnic communities of the country. According to preliminary data of the Central Electoral Commission of Kazakhstan, 82.2 percent of voters voted for Nur Otan; 7.1 percent voted for the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan; and 7.2 percent voted for Ak Zhol. Other parties didn’t overcome the seven-percent barrier – Birlik, the Peoples Patriotic Party Aul, and the Social Social-Democratic Party. Numerous foreign observers were following the elections. More than 300 people of them represented Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that “the elections became another confirmation of the ongoing democratic process in all spheres of people’s lives in Kazakhstan.” Russia believes “this important event will contribute to further development of Kazakhstan’s statehood in all spheres, including foreign policy where Russian-Kazakhstan cooperation, friendship, strategic partnership, and unity play a big role.”
Meanwhile, Andrei Kazantsev, director of the Analytical Center of the Institute of International Studies of MGIMO, expert of the Russian Council on International Affairs, thinks that further development of relations between Russia and Kazakhstan does not depend on such circumstances as the results of elections, because there is a very deep strategic interdependence between the countries: “It lies in many dimensions of interpersonal relations, international, close historical ties, to the point that we have huge common borders. Therefore, the change of some nuances cannot fundamentally change this friendship, which goes very deep in history. It can be altered somehow.”
Speaking about the possibility of such changes, Kazantsev recalls that Russia and Kazakhstan are leaders in the former Soviet Union in terms of development of integration processes: “Kazakhstan is the leader among the countries of the EEU in terms of liberal economic reforms. In this regard, the example of Kazakhstan plays a positive role, because Kazakhstan, as a country that is largely smaller than Russia, where you can easily test new approaches, plays the role of paving new ways in many respects.”
Despite the obvious victory, more than 80% of votes for the presidential ruling party, it does not mean some kind of stagnation, the expert is sure. “The personal composition is greatly updated, moreover, it is updated by young people, who have a very good education, which is, among other things, the result of a long deliberate policy of President Nazarbayev, in particular, the program on obtaining education, on integrating these young people into the political system and the political party system, and in public administration, and in the government, and in local government. Kazakhstan, in terms of updating this political elite, is a pioneer in the post-Soviet space. In this regard, it paves a way through which other members of the EEU will travel, as a difficult economic situation, which is observed, requires new approaches, new people, who are knowledgeable in the new economy,” Kazantsev states.
From the political point of view, the expert noted that Kazakhstan managed to successfully integrate the right-liberal project 'Ak Zhol' into the political environment: “Formation of such a mainstream liberal party, which would successfully interact with the political system, would be a systematic part of the current political system, it is a very important factor, which may also play a certain role of a positive example.”