Kazakhstan Holds Elections for a New Parliament
On September 19, Kazakhstan held the first round of elections for a new Majilis (lower parliamentary body). Second-round run-offs are being held on October 3, but the first round already established the contours of the complete results. In addition to parties formed around the persons of President Nursultan Nazarbaev (Otan) or his daughter Dariga Nazarbaeva (Asar), the technocratic Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK) and Ak Zhol, which emerged from it, were among those running candidates. The conduct of the elections was better than in other Central Asian states, but exit polls were diverged markedly from the official results, which give Otan a majority in the chamber. Important structural impediments to de-authorization and democratization remain, but they are not insurmountable. However, the longer reform is delayed, the more endemic they will become.