On October 21, 2020, Kossym-Jomart Tokayev signed the Decree on conducting the election of the deputies of the Mazhilis of the Kazakh Parliament. The Decree has come into effect after its publication on Akorda’s official website. The President then addressed his fellow citizens urging them «to take the proactive civic stand and take a responsible participation in the upcoming elections».
What does catch one’s eye when reading the text of the presidential address to the Kazakh citizens?
First of all, there is Tokayev’s desire to convince everyone, not just local voters but foreign observers as well, that Kazakhstan’s political system possesses a democratic nature. Hence his statements that –
«the upcoming elections will take place within the time period stipulated by the Constitution — on January 10, 2021»;
«All the political parties have had time to prepare for the participation in the upcoming election campaign, to develop their pre-electoral platforms, to improve their party’s infrastructure»;
«the Central Electoral Commission and the Public Prosecution Office are to conduct the constant monitoring of the legality, transparency and fairness of the elections».
Second of all, Tokayev, once again, has tried to position himself as a political reformer and not an imitator that he is (as we at KZ.expert believe). Hence his statements that –
«prior to the start of the new election campaign, we have taken measures related to the political modernisation, the development of the multiparty system and the expansion of the civic participation in the socio-political life of our country». In particular, «via the amendments to the Constitutional law on the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the status of its deputies and to the Law on committees and commissions of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, we have made changes and additions introducing the institute of the parliamentary opposition as well as the regulation of its activities»;
«the Constitutional law on elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Law on political parties make provisions that introduce, for the first time in our country, the 30% party list quota for women and young people». This norm is to become an effective mechanism to attract women and young people to the Parliament and local representative bodies which will assist in their more active participation in the socio-political activities;
«for the first time, the upcoming elections to the maslikhats will be conducted on the pasty list basis. The proportional model goes hand in hand with the international democratic practices, facilitates the strengthening of the political system and the development of democracy, fuels the political parties’ activities».
Judging by the reaction of political experts, journalists ands civil activists, Kossym-Jomart Tokayev’s decision was no surprise to them. Moreover, no one is doubting that the Nur Otan party is to win the elections.
Of course, incidents will occur but their scale and consequences are unlikely to be comparable with what took place after the elections in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. Therefore, there can be no doubt that the upcoming elections are not going to become an event attracting attention of a significant number of the Kazakh citizens let alone mobilising them to carry our Akorda’s requests and orders.
Therefore, we are more than certain that the President’s loud cries on the necessity of «taking effective anti-crisis measures, ensuring the sustainable economic development, social well-being of our citizens and increasing the people’s welfare» are not to be heard by the country. Neither by officials not by entrepreneurs let alone ordinary citizens.
They won’t be heard due to that simple reason that no one trusts the current authorities — neither those who represent them nor those who live under them and put up with them.
This, in its turn, means that the upcoming elections are but a formal political procedure into which no one’s soul and energy are going to be invested. Expect perhaps an extremely limited number of the politically naïve citizens and those who wish to use the electoral process to their own private benefit.
We at KZ.expert are certain that, if Kazakhstan is to replace the authorities in the nearest years, it may happen via one of the two ways — either as a result of unexpected massive disturbances orchestrated by some elite clan; the disturbances that will then turn into a revolution or as a result of a military coup.
The third option — the enfeeblement of the authoritarian system and the «super-presidential» power and then its collapse according to the Soviet scenario — is also possible albeit less probable. Simply because it requires time, a couple of decades at least, and this is exactly what Kazakhstan may not have.
Where will it all lead us? To the collapse of the current model of the state, surely. But also perhaps to the collapse of the country itself.
Why are we so sure of that? Because states hinge not on the promises of the people in power who, at the same time, abuse their power but on the belief of the citizens that the country belongs to them and on their readiness to respect the law. And this is exactly what Kazakhstan lost a long time ago.
Therefore, the assurances of today’s «semi-leader of the nation» that «our common mission is the prosperity of Kazakhstan and the well-being of our citizens» and his hopes that «our people will proudly accept their new historic mission of the all-encompassing modernisation of the state» are but words that will never become an arm of the flesh.