Assembly of People of Kazakhstan proposes dissolving parliament

The Coordinating Council of Russian and Cossack Associations in Kazakhstan requested that President Nazarbayev dissolve the lower house of parliament, allow candidates of ethnic groups in Kazakhstan to stand for election and hold a snap election so that they can compete for representation in parliament next year.

Madi Asanov

2009-12-02

ASTANA ― On Nov. 25, the Coordinating Council of Russian and Cossack Associations (CCRCA), part of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK) appealed to President Nursultan Nazarbayev to allow candidates of ethnic groups to stand in snap parliamentary elections next year. The APK was established by Nazarbayev in 1995 as an advisory body accountable to him. That would require him to dissolve the lower house of parliament, where every representative is currently a member of the ruling party.

In their appeal, CCRCA leaders who represent 26 percent of the population, suggested that “on the eve of Kazakhstan’s assuming the presidency of the OSCE, the fact that it currently has a one-party parliament may raises doubts about whether the country will honour the international obligations it has assumed.”

In addition, alluding to Nazarbayev’s intention to “increase the representation of ethnic communities in Kazakhstan’s legislative bodies,” and the report he presented at the 15th session of the APK, they proposed far-reaching parliamentary reforms. Among them were “amendments to the Majilis electoral system that would grant to the APK… rights equal to those enjoyed by political parties to stand in elections to the Kazakh legislature.” For rapid implementation, they proposed “the dissolution of the Majilis and fresh elections next year.”

Thus far, only the most nationalist organisations have reacted to this proposal by arguing that if ethnic cultural organisations are given the same status as political parties, the result could be inter-ethnic conflict, undermining national security.

Some commentators ventured that the appeal to the president may have been requested by the authorities themselves, in an attempt to create a more representative parliament in the run-up to Kazakhstan’s presidency of the OSCE.

At present, the only party represented in parliament is Nur Otan by President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nine MPs were appointed directly by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, which is also presided over by the head of state.

[Russians.kz, Spik.kz, ZonaKZ.net]

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