Election Campaign Starts, Opposition Cries Foul
Early parliamentary election in Kazakhstan will take place on August 18. Although the Central Election Commission was quick enough to ensure inclusiveness of registration process and gave approval for the opposition’s party list, social-democrats already cry foul in the campaign.
First of all, All-National Social-Democratic party (recently merged with “True Ak Zhol” Party), which represents opposition on the elections, they are not happy with the election commissions as such. There are no opposition members in the CEC; in lower level bodies across the country opposition representatives make up only appx. 1% of election commission members.
Besides, all state TV channels used various pretexts to reject broadcasting of video ads devoted to the merge of ANSDP and “True Ak Zhol”. The agitation campaign has started on July 18 and will last till August 16, and currently the oppositionists also complain that most broadcast media put numerous obstacles to their pre-election ads. At the same time, most of the airtime is, surely, dedicated to the ruling “Nur Otan” party, chaired by president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The same situation is taking place around outdoor ads – “Nur Otan” now enjoys extensive visual domination, while the majority of printhouses refuse to provide services to ANSDP – and those who did agree, immediately faced troubles like “electricity blackouts”. In Semei, the unidentified individuals craftily stole the whole 200,000 circulation of printed ads.
During the last elections, presidential vote in 2005, the campaign was characterized by loads of unpleasant and disgraceful extremes like arrests of newspapers, harsh attacks on the opposition’s peaceful gatherings, violent beatings of the activists and even murders. This time the campaign is expected to be more tranquil, but we will see whether it really will be so.
In any case, legislative and procedural framework is still the same, which means that the old good principle, formulated by Josef Stalin, will remain a key determining factor: “The most important thing is not how people vote, but how their votes are counted”.