08ASTANA315, KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, JANUARY 28 – FEBRUARY 8, 2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA315 2008-02-13 05:48 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTA #0315/01 0440548
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130548Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1768
INFO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1867
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 8238
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 8121
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 7293
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 2327
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1518

UNCLAS ASTANA 000315 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: ALMATY NOTES, JANUARY 28 - FEBRUARY 8, 2008 
 
 
1. The "Almaty Notes" series is intended to maintain focus on 
developments in civil society, the media, and the opposition in 
Kazakhstan's "southern capital" following the move of the Embassy to 
Astana. 
 
Comments on President's State of the Nation Address 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
2. Political party leaders expressed various opinions about 
President Nazarbayev's state of the nation address.  National Social 
Democratic Party chairman Zharmakhan Tuyakbay said "I have not been 
inspired.  The address included many good words, but it is doubtful 
whether they will come true.  Practically nothing has been said 
about political reforms." Auyl leader Gani Kaliyev agreed with 
Tuyakbay, saying that he had heard nothing new.  Patriot Party 
leader (and Senator) Gani Kasymov said he very much appreciated 
Nazarbayev's announcement that additional funds would be allocated 
to build hospitals, schools, and sports facilities.  (Interfax, 
February 6) 
 
Maslikhat Candidate Loses his Case 
---------------------------------- 
 
3. On February 5, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Sergey 
Utkin, who had run as an independent candidate for the Almaty city 
maslikhat (i.e., the local legislative body).  Utkin had challenged 
the results of the August 18, 2007 election, claiming that electoral 
protocols he had obtained from 10 out of the 11 election precincts 
proved that he had won his race.  District and city courts 
previously denied Utkin's appeals and confirmed the official 
results, according to which Utkin lost to a candidate from Presdent 
Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party.  Utkin has the right to file a second 
appeal with the Supreme Court.  (Interfax, February 5) 
 
Communist Leader Proposes One-Chamber Parliament 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
4. "Because the current two-chamber parliament is not efficient, we 
have proposed setting up a one-chamber parliament," Communist Party 
leader Serikbolsyn Abdildin told a press conference in Almaty on 
February 5.  This proposal was one of several that the Communists 
submitted to the Central Election Commission pertaining to 
amendments to Kazakhstan's election law. (Note: The Central Election 
Commission recently solicited input on amendments to the election 
law from all political parties.  End Note.)  The Communists also 
proposed that only half of parliamentary deputies be elected though 
a nationwide proportional party list system, with the other half 
elected in majoritarian territorial districts.  They further 
proposed that city and oblast akims be elected through direct 
elections.  Abdildin added that in order to "allow Kazakhstan to 
chair the OSCE in 2010 with dignity," the constitutional amendment 
which allows Nazarbayev to be continually re-elected without term 
limits should be annulled. (TAN TV channel and Interfax, February 
5) 
 
Political Parties Support Strikers 
---------------------------------- 
 
5. The unregistered Alga political party issued a statement in 
support of miners from Mittal Steel Corporation and Kazakhmys who 
recently went out on spontaneous strikes following an explosion at a 
mine in Karaganda. The striking miners were successful in obtaining 
wage increases.  Alga congratulated the miners on their victory and 
blamed the government for its failure to arbitrate labor disputes. 
Ak Zhol, Auyl, the People's Communist Party, and Rukhaniyat issued 
their own statement expressing solidarity with the miners, as well 
as with trade unions representing employees of healthcare and 
education institutions and members of the armed forces.  (Alga press 
release, February 5; www.zonakz.net, February 6) 
 
Turkish Workers Attacked in Almaty 
---------------------------------- 
 
6. On January 24 in Almaty, approximately three dozen individuals 
wearing masks attacked workers from the Turkish construction company 
B.N.N. Pegasus, the executive director of the company, Sechim Kose, 
told the media.  According to Kose, the attackers were armed with 
knives and firearms.  Four workers suffered injuries and were 
hospitalized.  The Turkish Embassy in Kazakhstan addressed a protest 
note regarding the incident to the Government of Kazakhstan. 
According to the Embassy, more than 20,000 Turkish nationals work in 
Kazakhstan.  (Novoye Pokoleniye, February 1, 2008) 
 
Tightened Security in Almaty Schools 
------------------------------------ 
 
7. According to Deputy City Akim Serik Seydumanov, authorities are 
planning to install video cameras in Almaty schools.  This security 
campaign was launched after a January 26 incident in Almaty school 
number 9, in which a grenade exploded and killed two people.  Recent 
inspections have turned up grenades and mines in other schools. 
(Interfax, February 5) 
 
ORDWAY

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