By Dr Shahid Qureshi: –
March 2019 in Kazakhstan is already called ‘special’. Well on March 19, President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced that he was leaving the post of head of state, handing over his post before the next election, to Chairman of the Senate of Parliament Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev. In modern Kazakh history there were no such precedents. But was this transit unexpected?
It’s hard to suspect President Nazarbayev of spontaneity, orientally a wise politician seems to think all the steps long before they start. A simple example: 25 years ago, for the first time from the Moscow State University rostrum in Moscow, he announced his idea of creating a Customs Union, this year the EAEU celebrated its first five-year anniversary. And such thoroughness in Kazakh applies to the internal life of the country.
It was Nazarbayev, who, with high oil prices, created a kind of safety cushion in the country – a national foundation, where surpluses from oil sales went in the period when the cost of a barrel reached 100 USD.
Anticipating a drop-in price for hydrocarbons, the country announced a program of accelerated industrial-innovative development, when the more expensive processing industries of the economy took priority but were necessary for the budget when the cost of a barrel of black gold dropped to $40 USD. Of course, the level of GDP in the country is still imperfect, but according to the Ministry of National Economy, from the beginning of 2019 (from January to March) – GDP growth of 3.8%. Plus, light industry, the production of beverages and plastic products, the production of building materials, as well as mechanical engineering, including the automotive industry.
And you do not need to be an oracle to understand what motives moved President Nazarbayev when deciding on the transfer of power in the country. The main postulate of the first President: first economy, then politics. The head of Kazakhstan understood that the country needed a leader who could start working during the transition period – until the next presidential election.
And the candidature of Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev in this regard is simply perfect: a lot of experience working for the state, status in international politics. K.Tokayev was the director general of the UN office in Geneva. The Speaker of Parliament in the Kazakh hierarchy of positions is the second person in the country after the President. Now temporarily the head of state – before the extraordinary elections, Tokayev has repeatedly stressed: the policy of the first President Nazarbayev will be continued.
And this message is addressed not only to foreign partners of Kazakhstan, in this sequence from the first – to the next are interested and the people of the country. N. Nazarbayev promised to increase benefits and wages, support for socially unprotected segments of the population. However, all citizens of Kazakhstan
need stability, regardless of their material wealth. Kazakhstan, unlike neighboring Kyrgyzstan, is not morally ready for political upheavals, and rallies and protests are not about this country.
In his address to the people of the country, Nazarbayev explained: the world is waiting for the next economic upheaval, for which you need to be morally prepared.
The year of changes in Kazakhstan should be the next, in 2020 the next presidential elections were to take place, but what would it be? To avoid the appearance in the country of a delayed start effect, when large investors, medium-sized entrepreneurs, and government agencies are waiting for future elections, what if a new leader comes in with new ideas? Life on a temporary pause for 18 million Kazakhstan is a great luxury.
And K. Tokayev’s statement about holding early presidential elections is most welcome. The election of the head of state by the people will have a positive effect on the political and economic stability of Kazakhstan.
The President stressed that: ‘he is the guarantor of fair and open elections. “Now we are experiencing a historical moment. The supreme power in Kazakhstan was transferred in a calm atmosphere in full accordance with the Constitution. And it caused respect for Kazakhstan from the entire world community” said Tokayev.
(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.