06ASTANA27, KAZAKHSTAN: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES DEMOCRATIZATION COMMISSION

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA27 2006-04-11 09:33 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO9088
PP RUEHAST RUEHDBU
DE RUEHAST #0027/01 1010933
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110933Z APR 06
FM USOFFICE ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0092
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY PRIORITY 0086
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 0011
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 0013
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0015
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0010
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0012
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0011
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0036
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ASTANA 0094

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000027 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/CEN (J. MUDGE), DRL/PHD (C. KUCHTA-HELBLING), 
AND DRL/CRA (E.RAMBORGER) 
USOSCE FOR D. BROWN AND J. DUNLOP 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PHUM PREL OSCE PINR KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES DEMOCRATIZATION COMMISSION 
WITH STATE SECRETARY ABDYKARIMOV 
 
REF: ALMATY 1095 
 
1. (SBU) Summary: On March 30, the Ambassador paid a courtesy 
call on State Secretary Oralbay Abdykarimov, who was recently 
named to run the new Democratization Commission ("the 
Commission") as deputy to President Nazarbayev.  Abdykarimov, 
who will undertake the day-to-day operations of the commission 
and chair most working meetings, described the structure, goals, 
and timeline for the Commission.  He acknowledged the importance 
of active participation by all stakeholders, including 
opposition leaders and civil society groups.  End summary. 
 
2. (U) The Ambassador met with Oralbay Abdykarimov on March 30 
in Astana to discuss plans for the newly constituted 
Democratization Commission convened by President Nazarbayev on 
March 24.  Abdykarimov was appointed State Secretary in March 
2004. When dealing with various government agencies, political 
parties, and public organizations, the State Secretary acts as 
the President's representative.  Prior to this position, 
Abdykarimov served as speaker of the Senate from 1999 to 2004. 
During the meeting, Abdykarimov gave the Ambassador an overview 
of the broad plans for the Commission, explaining its structure 
and laying out goals and timelines for accomplishing these goals. 
 
STRUCTURE AND GOALS OF THE COMMISSION 
 
------------------------------------- 
 
3. (U) Abdykarimov explained that the Commission has 30 members 
who will form seven working groups.  These groups will focus on 
the priorities of democratic reforms as determined by the 
previous National Commission on Democratization and Civil 
Society chaired by former Security Council Secretary Utemuratov: 
executive branch reform; strengthening the role of 
representative government entities; development of 
self-governance; judicial reform; human rights protection and 
strengthening the role of political parties and public 
organizations; strengthening of independent, professional media; 
and development of Kazakhstan's electoral and political system. 
Members include the deputy speakers of both houses of 
Parliament, one representative from each registered political 
party and bloc, leaders of political factions in the Parliament, 
civil society leaders, and other government officials and 
members of the Parliament. (Note: Only one opposition 
representative attended the first meeting.) The Cabinet will 
appropriate funds for the Commission's budget, which will be 
overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Information. 
Abdykarimov noted that the Commission's success will depend on 
whether the Commission wins public trust in its objectives and 
methodology. 
 
4. (SBU) The next meeting of the Democratization Commission is 
tentatively scheduled for April 21. It will be a working meeting 
chaired by Abdykarimov rather than President Nazarbayev, who 
chaired the Commission's first meeting on March 24.  Commission 
members will debate and vote to set the order of the seven 
priority areas to be addressed.  At the March 24 meeting, 
Constitutional Council Chairman Igor Rogov suggested that they 
begin with the areas that do not require amendments into the 
Constitution.  Abdykarimov shares that view, predicting to the 
Ambassador that the Commission would not likely draft any 
constitutional amendments this year.  After the first meeting, 
Abdykarimov sent letters to all members of the Commission asking 
for their proposals on the work plan and soliciting agenda items 
for the next meeting.  He told the Ambassador that at this 
stage, there is no unanimity among members as to what issues 
should be addressed first.  Once approved by the Commission, 
proposed legislation and regulations will be filed with the 
Cabinet for submission to Parliament.  (Note: Under the 
Constitution, legislation may be initiated only by the Cabinet 
or within the Parliament itself.  The Presidential 
Administration and its subsidiary non-cabinet agencies and 
commissions technically do not have the right to initiate 
legislation.  However, in practice, these entities work closely 
with the Ministry of Justice to draft relevant legislation.  End 
note.)  The work plan drafted by the Commission will be sent to 
President Nazarbayev for approval. 
 
5. (SBU) The Democratization Commission reforms will be divided 
into goals for 2006 to 2008 and goals for 2009 to 2011.  The 
 
ASTANA 00000027  002 OF 003 
 
 
election of akims should begin this year pursuant to a decree by 
the President.  (Note: District akims are expec
ted to be 
indirectly elected by district (rayon) legislatures, or 
Maslikhats.  As noted in reftel, akims have traditionally been 
executive branch appointees.  End note.)  This year, Parliament 
is expected to pass a law that will be that will expand local 
self-government for small settlements and villages. 
 
6. (SBU) Abdykarimov believes the Commission must ultimately 
decide whether Kazakhstan remains a presidential republic, moves 
towards a parliament-dominated republic, or maintains strong 
executive and legislative branches to balance each other.  He 
said that although it was not an immediate priority, a new 
election law should be passed prior to the fall 2009 Mazhilis 
elections, providing for a larger role for political parties. 
 
ENGAGEMENT WITH OPPOSITION AND STAKEHOLDERS 
 
------------------------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Abdykarimov said that he sent a letter to newly 
registered opposition party True Ak Zhol (TAZ) on March 29 
asking the party to name its representative to the 
Democratization Commission.  Former presidential candidate 
Zharmakhan Tuyakbay was invited to represent opposition bloc For 
a Just Kazakhstan (FJK), while party chairman Serikbolsyn 
Abdildin was invited to represent the opposition Communist Party 
of Kazakhstan(CPK).  Neither party sent a representative to the 
inaugural March 24 meeting, however.  Ak Zhol chairman Alikhan 
Baymenov was the only opposition representative present. 
Abdykarimov agreed that the murder of TAZ leader Altynbek 
Sarsenbaiuly cast a shadow on the work of the Commission. 
Abdykarimov claimed that government had reached out to the 
opposition to join the Commission and taken steps to encourage 
their participation.  (Note: As reported Ref B, the opposition 
does not feel the GOK has made any effort.)  Abdykarimov 
stressed that opposition leaders must commit to participation; 
they cannot be forced to join.  If the opposition leaders refuse 
to participate, they will miss an opportunity to shape the 
Commission's reforms.  The work of the Commission will go 
forward, Abdykarimov said, with or without the opposition. 
 
8. (SBU) The Ambassador encouraged Abdykarimov to come up with a 
clear agenda and action plan so that all stakeholders, including 
the opposition, will see the advantages of joining the 
Commission.  He also encouraged informal, personal outreach by 
GOK officials to "old friends" in the opposition, noting that 
many political opponents retained personal ties built on former 
professional relationships and family and social ties. 
Abdykarimov agreed with the suggestion, adding that he had known 
all the opposition activists from long ago, particularly Bulat 
Abilov (TAZ), Oraz Zhandosov (TAZ), and Tulegen Zhukeyev (FJK). 
He noted, "We all share the same goals of building democracy and 
prosperity.  Our differences are in the way to reach these 
goals." 
 
9. (SBU) Abdykarimov also indicated that he would seek feedback 
from civil society stakeholders, soliciting input from groups as 
diverse as the National Council, the Assembly of Peoples, the 
entrepreneur group "Atameken," NGOs, and the media.  Abdykarimov 
expressed openness to active participation of international 
organizations and invited the Embassy to send observers to any 
and all Commission meetings. 
 
EYE ON THE OSCE BID 
 
------------------- 
 
10. (SBU) Finally, Abdykarimov mentioned Kazakhstan's 
aspirations to OSCE chairmanship-in-office (CiO).  He believes 
that Kazakhstan should be given credit for aspiring to take a 
leadership role and that the U.S. should support Kazakhstan's 
bid for the OSCE CiO.  The Ambassador agreed that Kazakhstan 
deserves recognition for its leadership aspirations, but noted 
that aspirations are not enough.  The Ambassador told 
Abdykarimov that the terms under which Kazakhstan could be 
chosen to serve as OSCE CiO remain subject to further 
consideration and discussion. 
 
 
ASTANA 00000027  003 OF 003 
 
 
BACKGROUND NOTES 
 
---------------- 
 
11. (SBU) BIOGRAPHIC NOTE: Oralbay Abdykarimov (patronymic 
unknown) was born December 18, 1944, in the village of Kiyevka, 
Nurinsky Region, Karaganda Oblast.  Following a brief (1964-67) 
stint in the Soviet Navy, he graduated from Karaganda 
Industrial-Pedagogical Technical School in 1969 and from 
Karaganda State University in 1974.  He served as an 
"instructor" to regional government councils from 1975 to 1985. 
From 1985 to 1991, he held various positions with the Central 
Committee of Communist Party of the Kazakh S.S.R.  Following 
Kazakhstan's independence, Abdykarimov served in the 
Presidential Administration from 1991 to 1996, when he left to 
serve 8 months as the head of administration for the Mazhilis. 
In October 1996, he returned as the Head of Presidential 
Administration, leaving to serve as Chair of the Higher 
Disciplinary Council(1997-1998), then on to chair the State 
Commission on Combating Corruption (1998-2000).  Abdykarimov is 
married to Zhamal Abdykarimova and they have a daughter and 
three sons, one of whom, Serzhan, currently serves as the head 
of the MFA Europe and Americas Department (replacing Jandos 
Asanov).  His brother, Bolat Abdykarimov, worked in the 
government until 1997 and ran for the Mazhilis in 1999. 
Currently, Bolat Abdykarimov is a professor at Eurasia National 
University in Astana. 
TRACY

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