Akorda and the Library Preparing for Elections

On June 2, 2020, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev met with First Deputy Head of the Nur Otan Party Baurzhan Baybek. At the meeting, the latter had reported on the primaries preparations announcing that it was scheduled for the second half of the year.

Judging by this announcement, the party of power is industriously preparing for the parliamentary elections. Of course, the question when exactly they are to take place is still open.

According to the Kazakh law on elections, particularly, to Article 85 called «Scheduling the Elections of the Mazhilis Deputies», elections may be held following «the end the constitutional term limit of the Parliament or the Mazhilis of the Parliament». The previous parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan took place on March 20, 2016, and, since the term limit for the Mazhilis deputies constitutes five years, the next elections must take place no later than the spring of 2021. 

To be more precise, they are «scheduled by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan at least five months in advance and are held no later than two months prior to the end of the term limit of the Parliament or the Mazhilis deputies. They are held during two months after an early termination of the authorities of the Parliament or the Mazhilis of the Parliament». 

This means that Akorda and the Library (whether they like it or not) will have to conduct the parliamentary elections no later than January 20, 2021. Or to make an extremely difficult choice (that will also threaten the country’s international image) to postpone them due to imposing a new state of emergency. For this reason, in our opinion, the likelihood of the second scenario is extremely low, although it does exist in theory.

Since planned parliamentary elections must be scheduled five months prior to «the end of the term limit of the Mazhilis deputies», it means that the decision of President Kossym-Jomart Tokayev will be announced no later than October 20, 2020. In other words, in less than five months from now. Given this kind of time crunch, Akorda and the Library have absolutely no reason to take risks, therefore, early elections are unlikely to happen. Having said that, we would like to point out that, in Kazakhstan, anything is possible especially under the pressure of an acute political need.

Therefore, we can forecast, with some confidence, that:

  • the parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan will take place within the law-stipulated time limit, in other words, they won’t happened ahead of schedule; 
  • the decision of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on scheduling the next Mazhilis elections will be announced no later than October 20, 2020;
  • only currently registered political parties will participate in the elections.

Based on the information provided by our insiders, the preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan have long been underway albeit not publicly. Moreover, collecting the «voluntary donations» in favour of the Nur Otan party (a very important phase of the preparations) is already near completion. 

The thing is that Kazakhstan’s medium-sized and big business, apart from the usual taxes and state budget-related charges, is also burdened with the fees paid in favour of the ruling party (unofficially, of course). This year, the size of these fees that, for large corporations and very rich people whose names are on the Forbes list, amount to millions of US dollars has gone up.  

At this point, we cannot say how much is has grown since the information is incomplete and the debates between those who collect the elections «donations» and those who must pay them are continuing with variable success. Nonetheless, on the whole, the work is near completion and one can say with certainty that Nur Otan will participate in the upcoming Mazhilis and local representative bodies elections with a doubled enthusiasm.

Of course, the people that will be in charge of the elections are seriously concerned about how the ordinary voters will react to these political events. Will the Kazakhs come to the ballot stations and how will they vote?

This concern is exactly what explains, to a large extent, the flurry of activity on the part of the security apparatus that, with the help of the local governor’s offices across the country, has begun to «pressurise» civil activists as well as the dissidents that could organise a future resistance in the course of the upcoming elections.


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