Kazkosmos Brass Backs President-for-Life Nazarbayev

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev

Kazkosmos officials are getting behind the bid of Kazakhstan President-for-Life Nursultan Nazarbayev for another term running the Central Asian republic where the Baikonur Cosmodrome is located. The vote will take place on April 3.

The local ÒšazÒ“arysh branch of Nazarbayev’s People’s Democratic Party (NDP or Nur Otan) recently held a meeting at ÐŒazaÑœstan Єarysh Sapary, a joint stock company run by Kazkosmos. Space agency officials were effusive in their praise for the president, who has held power since 1991. Kazkosmos PAO reports:

“We believe that President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan is a true pioneer in space exploration, because it was he who paved the road to space for Kazakhstan. It concerns the fate of the Baikonur cosmodrome, and the flight of the first Kazakh cosmonaut Toktar Aubakirov, and all three of my space flight, as well as today’s large-scale projects Kazkosmos. We have always felt the support of the President of the country,” said Kazkosmos Chairman Talgat Musabayev, who is a member of the Nur Otan Political Council.

Opening the meeting, the chairman of Space “primary” Ergazy Nurgaliyev noted that the recent Message of the President of Kazakhstan “build the future together!” Is a programmatic document for all Kazakhs. And for us, party members, leader of the nation address, the leader of our party is the basis of his election platform,” he said.

The members of the party organization “ÒšazÒ“arysh” discussed the progress of space programs and projects through the prism of the tasks mentioned in the Letter. Speakers noted that the President has always paid today pays close attention to the development of space activities of the country. Since its inception in 2007 the Presidential Decree of the National Space Agency started the practical steps to build the foundations of space industry in Kazakhstan.

Presentations were made by a famous writer Smagul Rahymbergenov, trustee candidate for President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. He urged everyone to take an active part in the upcoming election and vote for the preservation of suschestvyuschego peace and accord in Kazakhstan.

Although NASA’s administrators are political appointees of the President, U.S. laws prohibit them from being that involved in partisan politics. But then again, Kazakhstan is quite different from the United States. Take that President-for-Life moniker. Unfair? Not really, as Wikipedia explains:

On May 18, 2007, the Parliament of Kazakhstan approved a constitutional amendment which would allow Nazarbayev to seek re-election as many times as he wishes. This amendment applies specifically and only to Nazarbayev: the original constitution’s prescribed maximum of two presidential terms will still apply to all future presidents of Kazakhstan.

Well, that at least gives opponents a fighting chance to defeat him, doesn’t it? Uh…not really…

Summary of the 4 December 2005 Kazakhstan Presidential Election Results
Candidates and nominating partiesVotes%
Nursultan Nazarbayev – Fatherland (Otan)6,147,51791.15
Zharmakhan Tuyakbay – Coalition for a Just Kazakhstan (Ediletti Kazakhstan Yuzhin)445,9346.61
Alikhan Baimenov – Democratic Party of Kazakhstan Bright Path (Qazaqstan Demokratiyalyk Partiyasi Ak Zhol)108,7301.61
Yerassyl Abylkassymov – People’s Communist Party of Kazakhstan (Qazaqstan Kommunistik Khalkik Partiyasi)23,2520.34
Mels Tabigat – (Nature) environmental movement18,8340.28
Total (turnout 76.8%)6,744,267
Source: Embassy of Kazakhstan in the United Kingdom

The election next month is actually occurring early; a vote was not scheduled until 2012. The reason for the early vote was the Constitution Council’s rejection of a planned referendum to extend Nazarbayev’s term until 2020, bypassing two scheduled presidential elections. Wikipedia reports that “a Kazakh official stated that the move would ‘help save our efforts and resources since everyone knows the outcome of the elections beforehand.'”

It’s not looking much better for this election. The president’s opponents include: Mels Tabigat, the Nature party candidate who received .28 percent of the vote last time around; a member of the little-supported Communist People’s Party; and the leader of the Patriot’s Party who is rumored to have failed the required Kazakh language test. After Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported government censorship of opposition candidates, the radio network suffered severe disruption to access to its websites.