Kazakh CEC Announces 14 Nominees for Presidential Election So Far

ASTANA – The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Kazakhstan has released an updated list of candidates who plan to take part in the country’s presidential election next month.

An early election, first initiated by the Council of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK), is scheduled on April 26. The list of nominees so far includes self-nominated candidates who have never held key positions and whose names would not be known to the general public.

According to a statement by the CEC, the list of applicants who self-nominated on March 2–3 include entrepreneur Askar Syrgabayev, President of the Ruhani Kogam Alemi Public Fund Limana Koyshieva, civil engineer Bakhyt Abdukarimov and driver Sohrab Myrzashov. The list also includes Safiolla Aldazhanov, who is unemployed at the moment and about whom nothing else is known. All of the candidates work and live in Astana.

Myrzashov and Abdukarimov, who work in the same enterprise, JH Kurilis LLP, are not yet 40 years old, but Kazakhstan’s Constitution mandates that all nominees for president be at least 40 years old. Fellow self-nominated candidate Syrgabayev failed to pass the state language proficiency test, Kazinform.kz reported on March 6. Kazakh language proficiency test is another legal requirement for a potential candidate.

Myrzatai Zholdasbekov, the chairman of the special linguistic commission that determines the level of the state language proficiency of the candidates, announced that Syrgabayev made 92 mistakes during the written test.

Another candidate, Turgun Syzdykov, has been nominated by the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (CPPK).

“He was born in 1947. In 1974, he graduated from the Higher Komsomol School in Moscow; he also graduated from the Tselinograd Agricultural Institute. He was the head of the administration of the Leningrad region [and] worked as a civil servant in the North Kazakhstan and Akmola regions. In recent years he was the head of a department of the regional maslikhat [local representative body]. Syzdykov is a man devoted to the Communist Party,” Secretary of the CPPK Vladislav Kosarev said.

Also among the recent self-nominees are social activist Yessenbek Ukteshbayev from Almaty, retired Yakobzhan Dzhunisbekov from Almaty and head of the Astana Munai Gas Station Group 2007 Kanat Zhuman from Astana, the CEC said.

By March 9, Kairat Maishev, Bakhtiyar Estemesov and Kanat Turageldiev, upon whom the CEC has not yet provided data, had also self-nominated, bringing the total number of self-nominated candidates to 13.  The CEC has rejected the candidacies of five applicants.

The nomination of candidates for the election opened on Feb. 26 and will continue until March 15.

It is expected that the Congress of the Nur Otan Party will nominate current President Nursultan Nazarbayev for the presidential election in April. The congress will take place on March 11.

Nazarbayev has been at the helm of the nation since 1989, during the Soviet times. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, he was elected President of Kazakhstan. In 2007, the parliament gave him the right to run for president an unlimited number of times, an exception to the constitutional limit of no more than two consecutive terms, done in recognition of his role in the establishment of an independent nation.

According to Kazakhstan’s parliamentary speaker, Kabibulla Dzhakupov, the early presidential election was needed “to turn the risks and challenges of the global crisis into new opportunities and prospects for our homeland.”

On March 4, President Nazarbayev instructed the attorney general to ensure the observance of law in the country during the election campaign and the vote itself.

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