08ASTANA1374, KAZAKHSTAN – PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR YERTYSBAYEV

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA1374 2008-07-31 11:55 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Astana

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTA #1374 2131155
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311155Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2875
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0588
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1931

C O N F I D E N T I A L ASTANA 001374 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2018 
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN - PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR YERTYSBAYEV 
SUGGESTS THE POSSIBILITY OF EARLY ELECTIONS 
 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Steven Fagin, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (C) Nazarbayev advisor (and former Culture and Information 
Minister) Yermukhamet Yertysbayev told the Ambassador on July 
21 that the government is looking for a way to bring in a 
multi-party parliament before taking over the OSCE 
chairmanship in 2010.  Early elections, he explained, are not 
likely in 2008, given the domestic economic situation, but 
are a possibility for 2009. Yertysbayev maintained that 
Nazarbayev was inclined to hold early elections, a position 
that Yertysbayev was strongly pushing.  He admitted that the 
final decision would be Nazarbayev's and had not yet been 
taken. 
 
2. (C) The Ambassador suggested that it might be difficult 
for the government to conduct free and fair elections given 
that oblast akims (governors) believe they have to outdo 
themselves in "delivering" votes for Nazarbayev's Nur Otan 
party.  Yertysbayev admitted that this is a danger, and that 
new elections could thus yield a "multi-party parliament" 
consisting of Nur Otan plus a Nur Otan surrogate party such 
as Adilet, rather than a genuine opposition party. 
 
3. (C) Yertysbayev explained to the Ambassador that in his 
view, Kazakhstan currently has only three viable political 
parties:  Nur Otan, Azat, and the unregistered Alga. 
(Comment:  Yertysbayev was thus discounting the relevance of 
Zharmakhan Tuyakbay's OSDP and Serikbolsyn Abdildin's 
Communists.  Based on our own observations, OSDP and the 
Communist Party are, in fact, less organized and less active 
than Azat and Alga.  End Comment.)  Both Azat and Alga have 
good financing, Yertysbayev maintained, with Kazkommertsbank 
owner Nurzhan Subkhanberdin providing funds to Azat, and Bank 
TuranAlem Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov bankrolling Alga from the 
shadows.  Yertysbayev contended that Alga's registration has 
been held up specifically because Ablyazov has not been 
transparent in his support for Alga. 
 
4. (C) The Ambassador stressed to Yertysbayev the importance 
of moving forward on democratic reforms, expressing specific 
concerns about the government's domination of the broadcast 
media and restrictions on rallies and protests.  In response, 
Yertysbayev said he was optimistic that the government would 
follow through on its Madrid commitments. 
5. (C) Comment:  There are several arguments against 
Nazarbayev deciding to hold early parliamentary elections -- 
most important, that another round of bad elections would be 
worse for Kazakhstan's image than maintaining the one-party 
parliament.  On the other hand, no parliament since the 
country's independence has sat through its full term.   The 
fact that Nazarbayev recently met separately with opposition 
leaders Abilov and Tuyakbay could indicate that a deal is the 
horizon about bringing the opposition into parliament. 
Yertysbayev gave an interview for the July 24 edition of the 
opposition newspaper Svoboda Slova (his second Svoboda Slova 
interview in the months since he was named a Nazarbayev 
advisor) in which he publicly implied his personal support 
for early elections.  As Yertysbayev put it to Svoboda Slova, 
when Kazakhstan becomes the first Asian country to chair the 
OSCE, "we want Kazakhstan to look respectable, (we want) the 
Europeans to see that the full spectrum of basic political 
forces is represented in the Kazakhstani parliament."  The 
timing of elections, he stressed, is an issue for Nur Otan to 
decide, just like in Britain, where the ruling party names 
the date of early elections -- a date when political and 
economic conditions are most favorable for that party.  End 
Comment. 
ORDWAY

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