Astana, presidential elections: no real opponent for Tokaev
Six will run in the 20 November vote, including the incumbent president. Interest in 48-year-old Karakat Abden, who represents social workers. The 'against all' voting option remains as a 'release valve' for voters. Few protests from excluded candidates.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - Kazakhstan's Election Committee has definitively approved the list of candidates for the presidential elections on 20 November, after analysing the nominations submitted, excluding half of them and leaving six names in the field.
The first is that of the outgoing president himself, 69-year-old Kasym-Žomart Tokaev, who, according to all predictions, should have no problem being reconfirmed for his second term after the 2019 election, which also took place ahead of the end of predecessor Nazarbaev's term.
All the challengers (pictured clockwise) are little known, despite one of the requirements being an adequate period of service in public administration. The 61-year-old Meyram Kažyken is presented by the trade union Amanat; he heads the Astana Institute of Economic Research and has been a government advisor since the early 2000s, mainly at the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
67-year-old Žiguli Dayrabaev, a candidate of the Auyl party and chairman of the Committee for the Agricultural-Industrial Complex of the Atameken Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a former kolkhoz leader in Soviet times appears to be equally influential.
Perhaps the most interesting of the figures presented is 48-year-old Karakat Abden, who represents social workers and defends women's rights at high administrative levels. Since her youth very active in the Nur Otan presidential party, and a municipal deputy in Astana, she published a book in 2019 entitled "You are Kazakh: be proud!", which was a great success and also drew criticism for the state funding she received.
The other female candidate is Saltanat Tursynbekova, also 48, from the Republican association 'Kazakh Mothers as Pathways to Tradition'. Last year Tokaev appointed her president of the Commission for Women's Issues, Population and Family Policy in the presidential administration: she is considered an activist in defence of people's rights.
Nurlan Auesbaev, 65, of the Social Democratic Party Osdp, the only one who describes himself as 'opposition', closes the list. A former member of the Communist Party, he is known for his proposal to erect a statue of Lenin in the new capital Astana, which was rejected by President Nazarbaev. His candidature is the result of a victory in the party primaries.
The 'against all' voting option will also be left on the ballot paper, which will have no effect on the outcome, as votes against will not be counted, even if they reach a majority of those cast. This option remains at the behest of Tokaev, who still wants to give voters an 'outlet' in the ballot box.
The candidates who were excluded for formal reasons (insufficient submission signatures, poor public service and internal clashes within the supporters' groups) did not express any particular protest, except for the opposition politician Žasaral Kuanyšalin, who did not even get to submit his candidature.
He is said to be the victim of a 'state boycott' due to the pressure exerted on all political formations and associations willing to consider his name, and the inability to obtain registration for his 'Come on, Kazakhstan!' party.
Other activists and journalists have also complained about the impossibility of presenting real 'people's candidates', revealing widespread discontent among the population, although this is unlikely to express itself in real protests against Tokaev's new consecration.