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Presidential ambitions
In the morning, in the evening money
Daniyar Musaev

Kazakhstan claims to be the OSCE chairman. But in order to carry out this intention, Kazakhstan must comply with all the requirements of this organization, and in particular, in the field of democratization and human rights. Experts believe that these requirements are not met.

Kazakhstan nominated its candidacy for the post of OSCE Chairman-in-Office in 2009 two years ago. The chairman of the organization is elected by vote of all 55 participating countries and some of them have already expressed their support for the candidacy of Kazakhstan. But with the condition that all world norms in the field of democratization and human rights will be observed in the republic. The question of who will lead the organization in 2009 will be decided in December 2006, and experts argue about the incompliance of Kazakhstan with world standards.

Some experts regard the fact of application by Kazakhstan as simply ambitions of the political elite. Not one of the post-Soviet republics has yet come forward with such an initiative, and here the desire to stand out, to be first, is obvious. Kazakhstan already receives its dividends because it is considered as a candidate for the current chairmanship. Not to mention the fact that, along with the OSCE steering wheelchair, which has so far regularly criticized Kazakhstan for violating electoral and other rights, the country will receive a blank check and a kind of immunity to external and internal criticism.

But, according to experts, at the present time there are practically no chances for Kazakhstan to receive the status of the chairman of such an influential organization.

"Kazakhstan does not meet international standards in the field of human rights and democratization," said Nurbolat Masanov, a political scientist and independent information center "Politon": "And this practically nullifies the republic’s chances of chairing."

The expert characterizes the application for chairmanship by Kazakhstan as premature. Expressing the desire to be the chairman, the Kazakhstani authorities are in fact guided by the principle “in the morning chairs, in the evening money” - “you are our chairmanship, and we will be better by 2009”.

At the same time, the upcoming presidential elections in the country can significantly add to the chances of the republic’s presidency. “Elections can be viewed as a bargaining chip in exchange for the current chairmanship,” says Nurbolat Masanov: “For that they are started.” According to the expert, you can be sure that the presidential elections in Kazakhstan will be held in December of this year, that is, before the deadline specified in the Constitution. And this, in turn, will contradict international norms and will cast doubt on the legitimacy of the elected president.

Now the question of the date of the presidential election remains unresolved in the parliament of Kazakhstan. The fact is that according to the Constitution of the country, the powers of the current president expire in January 2006, and subsequent elections are scheduled only for December 2006.

The absence of criticism from the OSCE, which has repeatedly criticized the electoral process in Kazakhstan, will significantly increase the chances of the republic, Masanov said. But at the same time, this is a double-edged question for the Kazakh authorities. On the one hand, it is necessary that the elections held meet international standards, on the other hand, Astana cannot allow the emergence of a second leader in the country. In world practice, the second leader after the president-elect is generally considered to be a candidate who won 12-18% of the vote, and in Kazakhstan there are potential candidates who can reach this limit. For example, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, elected as a single candidate from the opposition. The authorities, according to experts, will try to prevent this circumstance by dispersing votes among as many candidates as possible.

“At present, the OSCE’s stringent requirements are unenforceable for Kazakhstan,” said Dosym Satpayev, a political scientist and expert at the Risk Assessment Group. - "And it is unlikely that the requirements will be met by 2009."

The OSCE chairmanship should be the benchmark for the standards of the organization itself and the global community. In Kazakhstan, compliance with these standards is not observed, the expert states. And first of all in the field of democracy and respect for human rights.

Experts believe that the lessons of the events in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan were misunderstood by the Kazakh leadership. In an effort to avoid the orange syndrome, it is trying to “tighten the screws” - and in the field of democracy there has been some rollback. Against the background of the upcoming elections, the authorities of Kazakhstan are clearly putting on force methods of control. Now it can be observed in relation to the so-called third sector - non-governmental and non-profit organizations.

And the fulfillment of OSCE requirements will mean for Kazakhstan, on the one hand, closer entry into the world community, on the other - a certain share of the risk of losing power.

The very same application for the chairmanship in the OSCE should be considered as a PR-action, said Dosym Satpayev. And it is directed not at the external environment of Kazakhstan, both within the CIS and the world community as a whole, but at the internal one - at the supporters and the opposition of the current government.

The current chairman of the OSCE is Slovenia. The current chairman is elected for one year. Previously, this post was occupied by Portugal, the Netherlands and Bulgaria, respectively. According to Dosym Satpayev, it’s pointless to compare Kazakhstan with the present and former OSCE chairmen in the context of meeting the criteria for the chairmanship. Since these are European countries and Kazakhstan has a lot of differences from them. It is not possible to compare Kazakhstan even with the states within the CIS, since each of the countries here has its own development paths.

In general, the expert considers it unlikely that Kazakhstan will head the OSCE in the near future. “The OSCE Chairmanship for Kazakhstan can be a good thing, but this is not a matter of today, but of a distant future,” says Dosym Satpayev.


The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was created in 1975 for political dialogue and cooperation for security purposes. The main task of the OSCE is to prevent conflicts and crises, where possible, and deal with their consequences, if a crisis could not be prevented.

To date, the OSCE consists of 55 states representing Europe, Central Asia and North America. From the date of its foundation, the OSCE Chairmanship passes annually from one member state to another. At this time, the functions of the head of the organization are performed by the head of the foreign affairs agency of the presiding country.

On January 1, 2005, Slovenia officially assumed the chairmanship of the OSCE. The head of the OSCE is Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, who replaced his Bulgarian counterpart Solomon Passy in this post.
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