Recent elections in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan catalysed unprecedented, non-violent mobilization in the former post-Soviet state and the violent overthrow of the government in the latter. Amidst this upheaval, Kazakhstan has scheduled its next parliamentary elections for 10 January 2021.
These are the first parliamentary elections to be held since former President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned in March 2019 after nearly 30 years in power. The passing of the presidential reins in June of that year to his hand-picked successor, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, sparked a spate of anti-government rallies.
Despite demands by activists that genuine opposition parties be allowed to register and participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, the government has thwarted the establishment of new parties. Observers expect the governing Nur-Otan Party, which currently holds 84 of the 98 seats in parliament elected from party lists, to achieve a resounding victory.
This anticipated outcome, in tandem with rising protest sentiment and the continued sidelining of the opposition, has led to concerns that the elections will elicit organized protests.
The event discusses the implications of the upcoming parliamentary elections at a time of regional unrest, growing political activism, mounting economic hardship and waning approval of Kazakhstan’s current government.
This event is held in partnership with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in Central Asia (IWPR) and CABAR.asia.
Assem Zhapisheva, Journalist, Co-founder of masa.media
Daniyar Kussainov, Political Scientist, Researcher
Shalkar Nurseitov, Political Analyst
Chair: Annette Bohr, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House