Kazakhstan: Sham Elections

On the eve of the elections, a result prediction poll on the top Livejournal community 101almatinec showed that the bloggers were far from being unanimous in their forecasts. This seems interesting, because most of the people here explain their absenteeism and apathy with the allegation that the “results were known in advance”. This time it wasn’t the case, apparently (RUS).

Woman casting their vote, by Flickr User hemak

Small-horsy almost never writes about politics, but she resolutely opposes the “nothing-depends-on-me” principle of many Kazakhs. “I have one thing to say: if you sit and weep that nothing depends on you, it will remain this way. Active people can make the difference. You are free to skip voting, but the problem is that most machinations are done with the unused ballots”, she says (RUS).

Meanwhile, Irene of neweurasia posts an overview of fraudulent techniques, based on her experience as an election monitor. She highlights the six simplest ways of how to win on all counts: multiple voting, irregularities during mobile voting, presence of officials at the polling station, organized group voting, stuffing the ballot-boxes, and cheating during the ballot count (RUS).

One of the reasons why the people in Kazakhstan were not sure about the outcome of elections were the recent constitutional amendments, which made the parliament a technical approval body, where the minority has no rights. Many thought that the opposition would be given some seats in the legislature (especially now when it is purely decorative), thus promoting the regime’s image.

Pulemetchizza is not trying to analyze the situation. She is just “sitting and sadly reflecting”. She writes: “I was loyal, because I thought that the new ones will try to get as rich as the incumbents. But I don’t like to be treated as an idiot. Let’s call things by their names. Don’t call this a democracy. Let’s honestly admit that we are not building it. Then I will shut up and continue writing posts about my baby’s excrements.”

Disappointment was the main emotion that dominated the blogosphere – and, certainly, the whole society. Count-asylum noticed that the opposition Social Democratic party was far ahead Nur Otan in the exit-pollsters’ notebooks. 4uni-muni says that in Kazakhstan, the “results of the vote depend neither on the voter turnout, nor on the vote, nor on the voters”. None of the elections here was deemed free by the OSCE. Another usually totally apolitical blogger Belilovsky wonders: “If there is only one party in the parliament, maybe this body should be called differently?”

Megakhuimyak tries to understand the correlation between the percentage Nur Otan gained in each region and the level of the governors’ “zeal”. He alleges that if there was no so-called “administrative resource”, the parliament would have consisted of 65-70 per cent Nur Otan members, 15-20% of Social Democrats, and 7-10 per cent of the quasi-opposition pro-presidential Ak Zhol party. He also warns the president that the protest electorate is growing.

Sarimov, a local pro-opposition journalist, puts a dot in the myth of Kazakhstan’s transition to democracy: “The current regime will never share power with the people. There will never be a democracy in Kazakhstan under Nazarbayev”. Sean Roberts suspects that “the country’s previously shaky relationship with the OSCE’s election monitors will come to haunt them again. Nathan of Registan confesses that he would honestly be shocked if Kazakhstan gets the chairmanship in the OSCE in late november this year.

Interestingly, the blogosphere distinguished itself at these elections as leaking information: on the eve of the election day, a full list with access codes/passwords to the e-voting machines appeared on several Livejournal communities, raising even more serious doubts concerning the reliability of the e-voting system, which was purchased by Kazakhstan from Belarus.

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