Kazakh media is discussing power transfer

A discussion on the subject of power transfer has started in Kazakh language media. Just recently taboo subject has appeared in the articles on two internet-sources with a small time difference. WE want to note that the subject of power transfer was avoided in the media even after the death of Uzbekistani president Islam Karimov, when many analysts in the Russian press started to compare the situation with the neighboring Kazakhstan.

An article titled “Kazakhstan after Nazarbaev” («Нұрсұлтан Назарбаевтан кейінгі Қазақстан») has apeared on the internet site qamshy.kz on July 26.

“From the day of independence in Kazakhstan there was and still is only one leader. And the nation that hasn’t seen any other regime variously forecast the fate of the country, without the current elbasy. Without a doubt, all of Nazarbaev’s achievements before the people will remain in the history. He is a personality that carries authority and respect, both within the country and outside of it. But nothing is eternal, including a human, he is here one day and gone another. And he will transfer the power to someone else” – justifiably notes the author Gulim Jakan.

He notes various valuations of the situation: “Some foreign editions wrote that after Nazarbaev, an Ukrainian scenario awaits Kazakhstan, and considering the ethno-political situation in the north of the country, Russia will set its sights on the region. It was also said that after Karimov in Uzbeksitan, system of governance will change drastically, but as we can see, neighbors’ situation remains the same”.

What will Kazakhstan be like after the current president Nazarbaev? Who will come to power next? What awaits the country in that case? What changes might happen? Author tried to find answers to these questions during discussion with the experts.

Life won’t stop after the first president

In the opinion of the politician A. Kasanov, we need to get rid of the pessimist view, that things will go sour in case president leaves or after his death.

“We had government leaders before elbasy and we will have them after. Of course human factor will have a place, and certain changes will happen. But this will depends not only on the person, that will come after elbasy, but also on the political system at the moment. It will depend on what the governance system is like – super-presidential or parliamentary” – Kosanov thinks.

In his opinion, it is unlikely that the political system will withstand any leader, having unlimited power. “This is why changes will happen in the power system. But whether these reforms will have to do with balancing of equilibrium of power in the branches of government or creation of institutions in defense of interest of certain clans, is something that time will show”.

Of course, the analyst says that “those who have their eyes set on the place of the successor will give promises , that plans of the current president will continue to come to fruition, but time will put things in their place”.

Kosanov had a hard time answering the question of who exactly will take the president’s place, having only said that there are enough contenders. “Different forecasts exist, and there is enough of those who want to take this position. Apparently it is for them the laws are being changed. For example the demand that future president has to have 5 years of government service or the cancellation of the right to run independently”.

In politician’s words there are only two scenarios on the change of power in Kazakhstan. “First, president will leave having created a foundation of governance system and indicated major figures. Second option could follow either Turkmen or Uzbek scenario” – Kosanov forecasts.

Political expert Aidos Sarym agrees with the latter option, thinking that situation in Kazakhstan will likely develop in the same way as in Uzbekistan after the death of Karimov.

“Nazarbaev is still running the country and for now isn’t ready to share power with anyone else. This is why the situation might be the same as in the neighboring Uzbekistan. Current Uzbek president Mirziioev is trying to make his policy fit the format of early Karimov. As if saying “I am younger, I accounted for mistakes of the former regime but in many ways Karimov conducted the right policy” – Sarym thinks.

Political expert doesn’t think that something will immediately change in the lives of regular people. “Stalin, Brezhnev – all of them die… After the death of the leader the nation doesn’t die with him. Of course there is fear among the people. But again, look at Uzbekistan: a country largely similar to us. For almost a year has passed since Karimov’s death and life still goes on: shops open, etc. It is the law of dialectics” – he thinks. Sarym also didn’t give a precise answer to the question: who will become a successor to the current president.

“In our case, elites are trying to choose not the strongest candidate but rather the weakest one, who will not be able to rule anyone tomorrow. But if such a man comes along, the country will not have a concrete plan of further development, and a stagnation and destruction awaits the society.

A person that will come after Nazarbaev, likely will have a chance to win in the fair elections. But clearly he will not have the glory and history behind him like Nazarbaev does. This is why he will be forced to consider himself a loyal follower of elbasy and conduct his policies, although he might reevaluate plans of his predecessor; and of course he might try to gain the authority and love of the people using power. But in XXI century it is becoming harder for dictators to rule the people.

Who exactly may become the next president? If you know when Nazarbaev will leave, be sure to let me know. Then, having looked at the list of who at the moment is the speaker of the senate, of Majlis and the head of the presidential apparatus, head of the government, I could analyze and give an answer to that question. For now it is too early to make predictions on the matter” – he said.

Only Nazarbaev knows when

Another material on the subject – is an interview with the social activist S. Abdildin, who cautious media has avoided for many years, has appeared in the online source qazaqtimes.kz last week.

In the interview titled “Serikbolsyn Abdildin: Our constitution works for the president” starting from the title and the tone in general, everything is more straightforward than in the previous article.

“The transit of power in Kazakhstan has been talked about for a while now. It has somewhat become stalled. Overall, it was politicians who introduced the term “transitional period” but neither in philosophy nor in science there is a clear definition of this period. And what is meant by it in our country, is the change of the politics of the regime, and as a result expected difficulties. Every fall people are waiting for change here, but whether they will come must be addressed to Nazarbaev. He is the only person in this country who makes decisions in all spheres of life” – said aksakal answering the question.

In S. Abdildin’s opinion unilateral nature of decision-making power of the current president doesn’t allow for an opportunity to speak about worthy candidate.

“Judge for yourself; we are proud that we are extracting a lot of oil, but 81% of our oil is in the hands of foreigners, it is them who extract it while we only receive the taxes from the remaining 19%. Nothing like that exists in any other government. Even in Lybia, where notorious Qaddafi ruled. It is reversed over there: 19% of deposits is in the hands of investors, while the rest is used by them. When Chevron, came to us I told the government that if our shares makes up less than 50% we wont ratify this document in the Supreme assembly; and we did it the way it is done the least developed countries. But after the disbanding of the supreme assembly president made a statement and another 25% of stocks were given to investors. There are many examples like that.

In 1993 we passed the first constitution, president didn’t think it was the way it was supposed to be and in 1995 second constitution was passed. In the first constitution all aspects were democratic in nature: distribution of power among branches of government, law-making, court. But the president didn’t like it. Before, everyone said that the supreme assembly self-disbanded and only recently Nazarbaev admitted that it was him who disbanded it. Second convocation of the asembly was disbanded and another constitution was passed. Current constitution – is the constitution of the president, it work for him. Of course there are words in it that “people is the source of power”, but as people we don’t feel that. Our choices prove that fact. Secondly all change that are added to constitution every time, are necessary to the president himself. For what is something we should ask him” – said Abdildin in conclusion. We note that both of these articles were re-published by many Kazakh resources.

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