06ASTANA495, KAZAKHSTAN: NEW CENTER-RIGHT “ATAMEKEN” PARTY HOLDS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06ASTANA495 2006-11-07 10:31 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO1682
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0495/01 3111031
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071031Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7593
INFO RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000495 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (M. O'MARA) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KDEM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: NEW CENTER-RIGHT "ATAMEKEN" PARTY HOLDS 
FOUNDING CONGRESS, BEGINS REGISTRATION PROCESS 
 
 
ASTANA 00000495  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  On October 27, the organizers of a new political 
party called "Atameken" (Fatherland) held their founding congress in 
Almaty.  The party is styled as a center-right party committed to 
championing the middle class and small and medium-size 
entrepreneurs.  Although presidential son-in-law Timur Kulibayev is 
purportedly backing the party, no well-known business leaders or 
other officials were visible at the congress, and the event received 
very little attention in the media.  The party must now collect 
50,000 petition signatures and open offices in each oblast in order 
to complete registration as a political party.  End summary. 
 
------------------ 
THE PARTY PLATFORM 
------------------ 
 
2. (SBU) On October 27, Poloff and PolFSN attended the legally 
required founding congress of the new Atameken party, held at the 
Kazakh-British University in Almaty.  Poloff also met with party 
organizers after the congress.  According to party documents and the 
organizers, the party is intended to emulate the conservative 
parties in the United Kingdom and Canada, the Republican Party in 
the United States, and the Union of Right Forces in Russia, among 
others. 
 
3. (U) The party plans to champion the interests of the middle 
class, particularly the owners of small and medium-sized businesses. 
 Party leaders condemned the systemic corruption in Kazakhstan, 
which hinders small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in the 
development of the middle class.  The party's declaration of 
principles advocates economic reforms to strengthen the free market, 
judicial independence, tax cuts for small and medium-size 
businesses, and greater media freedom, among other things.  The 
leaders of two groups of disabled citizens endorsed the party, and 
several speakers pledged to fight for the rights of disabled people. 
 Overall, the party leadership was careful to indicate their support 
for President Nazarbayev, and much of the party's ideas were 
presented in the context of supporting the president's vision for 
Kazakhstan. 
 
------------------ 
THE PARTY CHAIRMAN 
------------------ 
 
4. (U) The public driving force behind the new party is Yerzhan 
Dosmukhamedov, a western-educated political activist, consultant, 
and member of the Presidential Council on Entrepreneurship. 
Dosmukhamedov is an advisor to presidential son-in-law and 
KazMunaiGaz president Timur Kulibayev, and has held a number of 
government and advisory positions in recent years.  In a series of 
articles and published interviews in the year leading up to the 
founding congress, Dosmukhamedov laid out his vision for a party of 
entrepreneurs and the reforms it would advocate.  The collection of 
articles and interviews was available in book form at the congress, 
and included a complimentary letter from Margaret Thatcher.  The 
delegates unanimously elected Dosmukhamedov chairman of the new 
party. 
 
--------------------- 
THE FOUNDING CONGRESS 
--------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) At the congress, Dosmukhamedov announced that 1,112 
delegates from 12 oblasts were present.  (Note: Kazakhstani law 
requires new political parties to hold a founding congress with at 
least 1000 delegates, representing at least two-thirds of the 
oblasts in the country.  End note.)  Poloff and Pol FSN observed 
several hundred fewer people in the congress hall.  The congress 
started late, and in general seemed disorganized and low-budget. A 
large segment of the attendees were university students who were 
given the day off from class to attend.  They were prohibited from 
leaving early.  Many were attentive and interested, but several did 
not know why they were there.  Likewise, a number of disabled 
citizens were transported to the congress, but several did not know 
the purpose of the gathering. 
 
6. (SBU) No well-known business leaders or other officials were 
visible at the congress.  Approximately 10 journalists attended a 
press conference after the event, but the congress received very 
little coverage in the press.  On the day before the congress, 
Poloff met with opposition leaders Tulegen Zhukeyev, cochairman of 
the True Ak Zhol Party, and Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, chairman of the 
Civil Society foundation.  Neither was aware of the impending 
founding congress, and both predicted that President Nazarbayev 
would not allow a new political party associated with Timur 
Kulibayev, given recent moves to merge pro-presidential parties with 
the dominant Otan Party. 
 
7. (U) In order to become a registered party, Atameken leaders must 
 
ASTANA 00000495  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
register 50,000 members in the next two months, with at least 700 
members from each oblast and the cities of Astana and Almaty. 
Within six months of registration, the party must open and register 
branch offices in each oblast and the cities of Astana and Almaty. 
 
----
--- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8. (SBU) Comment: Dosmukhamedov's writings and public comments 
reveal a consistent and articulate vision of political reforms 
designed to fight corruption, help the middle class, and promote 
small and medium-sized businesses.  Dosmukhamedov is clearly a savvy 
political operator with close ties to first son-in-law Timur 
Kulibayev.  Despite his organizational and public relations efforts, 
however, the Atameken founding congress was an unimpressive event 
that received little public attention.  The founding congress 
nevertheless served its legal purpose, and assuming the party is 
registered it may prove to be a useful vehicle for Kulibayev's 
future political ambitions.  In the meantime, the party's success or 
failure in Kazakhstan's complex party registration process will shed 
light on whether it has sufficient high-level consent to survive in 
a political landscape that has recently seen the dominant Otan Party 
swallow other pro-presidential parties. End comment. 
 
ORDWAY

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