(By Dr Shahid Qureshi, Kazakhstan, Nur Sultan) : –
On June 9, 2019, in one of the most important countries of Eurasia – Kazakhstan, a year ahead of schedule, extraordinary presidential elections will be held. In March of this year, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who led the country since independence in 1991, announced in his address to citizens about his resignation. Then this news produced the effect of a burst political «bomb» and shocked not only Kazakhstan, but also caused some concern in Beijing and Moscow, Washington and Brussels. The news of the decision of the Kazakh leader did not leave without attention any major publication in the world.
And one can only guess how many experts in different world capitals are now trying to predict who will lead the country after Nazarbayev’s departure, what course the state will follow. Indeed, due to its geographical location and huge reserves of oil, gas and uranium, Kazakhstan is an extremely important political and economic player in the world arena.
So, until the day «X» are a few days. Political parties and public associations are still campaigning in favour of their candidates for the presidency. In the list of candidates for the main post – seven people. Among them, for the first time in the history of independent Kazakhstan, is the name of the only female candidate – Daniya Espayeva, representing the Ak Zhol party. The remaining six are men, representing public associations and political parties, from communist to ruling.
The candidacy of Sadibek Tugel was proposed by the public association Uly Dala Kyrandary. Party Auyl is represented by Toleutai Rakhimbekov. Zhambyl Akhmetbekov is speaking on behalf of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan. Amirzhan Kosanov is running from the united national-patriotic movement. The candidate from the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan is Amangeldy Taspihov. And finally, from the ruling Nur Otan party, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev will take part in the presidential elections.
Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, being the head of the upper chamber of the Parliament at the time of the resignation of the Kazakhstan’s leader, headed the country during the transitional period, according to the Constitution of Kazakhstan. By the way, the politician decided not to suspend presidential powers for the period of campaigning. According to experts, Tokaev is the undoubted leader of this political race. His course is supported by the majority of citizens of the country. Few people have doubts about his victory in the upcoming elections both in the country and abroad.
Despite the significant political background and recognize-ability, Tokayev, according to experts, does not belong to any Kazakhstan’s elite group. And this is a big plus for politicians in Kazakhstan, because this fact significantly expands the field for manoeuvres in the fight against corruption, political scientists believe. Many experts consider him a politician of the
European level, which is listened to in the West. The authority gained during his service in the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan and international organizations works for him and outside the country.
When it comes to Tokayev, many note certain predictability in Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, adherence to the old principles of building friendly relations with all political players. No wonder that the main task of the current president of the republic sees “continuity, justice and progress.”
By the way, about the continuity of the course of the first president, the commitment to which Tokayev has repeatedly voiced. This applies not only to domestic policy: compliance with all social obligations, following a large-scale national strategy developed by Nazarbayev. Consistency will certainly be observed in foreign policy issues. It is enough to remember that Tokayev was the very executor of the main foreign policy tasks of the young state.
Kazakhstan under the leadership of Nazarbayev adhered to a friendly and balanced approach to all world centers of power. The authorities of the Republic never tried to oppose any country, but sought to benefit, not only economically, from friendship with them.
For many years, this country has been pursuing a constructive foreign policy aimed at reducing tensions in the world and has actively promoted peace making initiatives. Kazakhstan also advocated the creation of the Global Anti terrorist Coalition, becoming a supporter of a peaceful resolution of issues on the Iranian nuclear issue. Efforts to resolve the military-political crisis in Syria were marked by the already well-known Astana International process in the international community, complementing the negotiations in Geneva. Here there are many years of assistance to Afghanistan, and peace making efforts between Turkey and Russia, initiatives to resolve the Korean problem, and in Ukraine. It is also necessary to note the commitment of Kazakhstan to counter terrorism, assist the needy and continue humanitarian operations to return its citizens from Syria.
In addition, Kazakhstan is the first and so far, the only Central Asian country that sent peacekeepers of 120 troops to Lebanon. The peacekeeping mission of Kazakhstan is also carried out in Western Sahara. Earlier, Kazakhstan’s military personnel in the international peacekeeping force assisted in stabilizing the situation in Iraq. And we hope that this momentum will continue. After all, it is in our common interest.
Summarizing, we can safely say that Tokayev’s authority and experience can ensure stability and development both within the country and in external relations. I will add that not the last place in Tokayev’s political background is his work as head of government. At that time, a serious economic crisis was raging in the country, which was overcome without much loss. In this regard, Tokayev has tremendous experience of effective management, which he can use – to lead the country and promote new initiatives and ideas for the further development of Kazakhstan, which will affect the development of the region as a whole.
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan 2015 and 2016 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ also studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University and visiting professor in Hebe University in China)
Views expressed are not of The London Post.