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Kazakhstan Early Parliamentary Election Reasons

Alibek Razakov-Kazakhstan is preparing for early parliamentary elections. The decision ahead of schedule to dismiss the lower house hold a vote under difficult not only for the country but for the world economic situation has caused a lot of questions and disputes. Nevertheless, the elections will be held. The list of those who will now influence the fate of the Central Asian States, will be known after March 20. 

It will be already the third consecutive early parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan. The term of office of deputies of the lower house of parliament was due to expire in the autumn of 2016. That is, the elections official Astana started a little less than a year before they are due. They decided to hold simultaneously with the elections to the local representative bodies - Maslikhats. This, as explained by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, will allow the country to save time and money.

Moreover, apparently, the decision is really dictated solely by considerations of economy. It is senseless to look for in it some political implication. The political landscape in Kazakhstan is so steady, and it changes are so predictable. It is not necessary to assume that the authorities intentionally hurry process to win time and to get advantages from this. However, there are those who are still trying to do it. Representatives of opposition which in Kazakhstan is extremely weak and has an acute shortage of charismatic and popular leaders once again counted early elections as the dishonest way which is allegedly directed to giving to oppositionists enough time for due preparation for electoral campaign. However, these criticisms seem more like a thin excuse, voiced with a single purpose - somehow to save face. It is obvious that even If the elections would take place not in March but in the end of the year, it would not have made a significant change in the political balance of power in Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, the time, which will be win due to transfer, can be crucial for Kazakhstan. The country is going through a period of large-scale reforms in all spheres of life. Practically all legislative base is updated. Part of laws will come into force at the beginning of 2017. In case of carrying out election campaign and elections in time, just elected deputies would not be able to react quickly and, if necessary, amend the laws that have only begun to be inspected in practice. Early elections of Majilis allow to come to this stage already prepared.

It is also should be noted that Kazakhstan is not the first who changes members of parliament before the term that it is more effective to resist to economic difficulties. In the history, there were many such cases. For instance, Portugal, about four years ago one of the main outsiders of the Eurozone, today adequately resists to global crisis. In 2011, the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. The credit rating of Portugal was lowered to a level which financiers often call "garbage". Record level of unemployment, massive layoffs, reduction of salaries and pensions – these are sad realities of Portugal of that time. In such conditions, the president of the country Aníbal Cavaco Silva took difficult, but as it turned out, the right decision - to dissolve parliament and hold early elections.  In the two years ahead of schedule. The new parliament and the government undertook settlement of an economic situation. The results were immediate. Two years later, after a long period of severe recession, the Portuguese economy is finally beginning to grow. Nearly, 4.5 percent in 2013, it was the best indicator among all states of the European Union. 

The new program of reforms in Kazakhstan is concerned only economy. The country is in fact testing a new economic model. And in this context parliamentary elections are necessary as a "recertification" of those who are to implement the global transformation. Elections are necessary also as political support of these transformations by the people, to ensure the guarantee of legality.

Yes, the holding of elections is always a great expense. For this reason in Russia which with Kazakhstan is united by a common economic space at the official level are going to consider an initiative to ban the holding of elections during the crisis and the sanctions. This proposal includes the extension of powers of parliament until then, until the crisis is over, and after it will not work for another six months. Official appeal on this matter have been received in the State Duma. However, Kazakhstan thinks more widely. In the categories of big business. Experience of the world's largest companies in the prosperous period of the financial difficulties of the staff of the update - it is, in fact, what is tested in Kazakhstan today. Astana reasonably expect that the new deputies will introduce a lot of new ideas and energy, so necessary in the conditions of economic difficulties. In the context of business this practice as history shows, always works. Will it be successful on a national scale? Apparently, yes, because an example of Portugal clearly proves it.

In summary, it is also important to note that the election is always a powerful mechanism for the consolidation of society. Associations that for any state can serve as a kind of immunity from all sorts of shocks, including political. Therefore, the decision of the Kazakhstan authorities, which, at first sight, someone might seem highly controversial, when we look at has been very forward looking and prospective.

Alibek Razakov
Counsellor of the Embassy,
Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 

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