The elections on neweurasia
Cross-regional and Blogosphere, Kazakhstan, Politics and Society3 Comments
neweurasia devoted much time and energy to cover the December 2005 presidential elections. The following is a quick guide to the material we posted on this site.
While it was no surprise that incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev would carry home a comfortable win, the margin was subject to discussion right from the start, with some commentators even wondering whether the elections could get rigged in order to lower Nazarbayev’s winning margin.
The Caspian Information Center, a small one-man think tank from London, first appeared in the discussion in November, when the organisation published a report on the preparations for the elections.
neweurasia then featured two cross-posts from KZ-Blog. While the first post reported about the fear of violence during the run up to the elections, the other asked whether the Kazakh government was sincere in its promise to conduct a free and fair poll and why the opposition was so weak.
James took a look back at previous elections in Kazakhstan and wondered whether the December poll could in any way be different – taking into account a new set of incentives to conduct free and fair elections.
With a couple of days to go, we stressed that the actual challenge to fair elections is not so much the election day but the months immediately preceding them. Also, treating the outcome of the elections as a foregone conclusion, we asked whether Nazarbayev would be serious about reform during his renewed tenure.
In our special coverage of the Caspian Information Center’s mission, we reprinted the group’s initial comments. One commenter heavily criticised the findings and doubted the legitimacy of the organisation.
The most intriguing discussion on our blog unfolded after James posted links to different election articles. Some of the commentators seemed angry with the weight given to ‘dubious’ observer missions, whereas others chimed in with CIC’s criticism of the OSCE findings. James also went to visit a Heritage Foundation panel on the elections, the summary of which (here) gave an excellent overview of the differing opinions.
President Nazarbayev was eventually inaugurated in January, and international guests were mainly interested in talking about oil and gas.