THE 2005 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN KAZAKHSTAN: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS FOR POLITICAL LIBERALIZATION

Timur SHAYMERGENOV


Timur Shaymergenov, Research associate, Kazakhstani Institute of Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Almaty, Kazakhstan)


In recent years, the worlds attention has been riveted on the fairly inordinate political trends in some of the post-Soviet states. The Color Revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan surprise no one; experts are talking about their recurring nature against the background of elections, similar plots, the technologies used to launch the sociopolitical developments, and similar results.

This has created the fashionable habit of discussing every CIS country getting ready for another round of elections as a testing ground for another color syndrome of its political democratization. As soon as this fashion reached Central Asia, Kazakhstan became the target of expert speculation: would the republic, due to hold its next presidential election in 2005-2006 (it took place on 4 December, 2005), experience a Color Revolution? The countrys geographic proximity to Kyrgyzstan, where democratization has been very painful, and Uzbekistan, where the authorities promptly suppressed a similar attempt, stirred up interest in Kazakhstan even more.

Kazakhstans geopolitical situation can be described as strategically very advantageous and very complicated at one and the same time. On the one hand, the republic is part of a


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