Early Election Won’t Affect Kazakhstan’s Image Abroad, FM Says

ASTANA – An early presidential election, if it is to take place, will not affect the international image of Kazakhstan, the country’s foreign minister said.

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Talking to reporters in the Mazhilis (the lower chamber of Parliament) of Kazakhstan on Feb. 16, Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov threw his personal support behind the idea first broached on Feb. 14 by the council of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK).

“I think it will have no effect on our international image,” Idrissov said. “It is our own choice. This is a proposal by the members of the APK, and I think that the members of the Parliament will make appropriate proposals. It is the choice of our people. Therefore, foreign states have nothing to do with it.”

He went on to explain why he thinks the election will, in fact, help strengthen Kazakhstan’s relations with foreign countries.

“We support and develop our relations with foreign communities. I believe that foreign communities will support the choice of our people, and if our people express the wish to hold elections whenever they find it convenient, I think it should not have any impact on our relations with foreign countries. On the contrary, I think there will be more predictability, specificity, and, indeed, we will hold the election in accordance with international standards,” he said, answering reporters’ questions.

“If it takes place, we as the diplomatic service will immediately start working with international organisations, primarily the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe] to establish an open and transparent process of election monitoring by the international community,” the minister added.

“As a citizen of Kazakhstan, I personally think it is a good idea to have the vote early,” Idrissov said when pressed to state his view on the proposal.

The proposal to hold the election early is attracting attention and has drawn support from some political parties within Kazakhstan.

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