The ruling party of Kazakhstan ‘Nur Otan’ resets its ranks

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NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – For the first time in the history of the party-political development of Kazakhstan, the ruling party of the republic, Nur Otan, will hold primaries in order to replenish its ranks with authoritative leaders with high public support, who know the real situation in the country. The first deputy chairman of the Nur – Otan party, Bauyrzhan Baibek, spoke to New Europe about his party’s priorities.

New Europe: Mr Baibek, why did the Nur Otan party decide to reboot its ranks and its activities?

Bauyrzhan Baibek: Our country is now faced with the challenge of recovering economic growth after the pandemic, creating new jobs, revitalizing small and medium-sized businesses. We also have to analyze the problem of combating the pandemic and prepare for its second wave. All these questions will be included in the party’s election programme and will become a guide to the actions of the Nur Otanists for the next 5 years.

In connection with new challenges, Elbasy – the first president of the country, Nursultan Nazarbayev, initiated a reset. He suggested that the party should become a source for the promotion of new persons to power – professionals in their field, authoritative leaders, people who care about the fate of the country, who are able to make decisions and make constructive proposals. A new programme was developed called “Trust. Dialogue. Confidence in the future.”

The primaries are one of the final stages of the “reboot” programme. For the first time, primaries are held on the scale of republican intraparty elections. As I said above, our key goal is to identify the most authoritative party leaders with a high level of public support for inclusion in party lists for the upcoming elections to the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) and maslikhats at all levels. Today the principle “Strong Leaders – Strong Party” is important to us.

The nomination and registration of candidates began on August 17 and ended today, Friday, 28.

NE: What will be the future composition of the party after the primaries?

BB: Party lists provide for a 30% quota for women and 20% for young people under 35. This provides a party “social lift” for active citizens.

Looking at the applications for participation in the primaries, it will be possible to talk about the quantitative and qualitative composition of candidates. As of August 26, more than 9,000 people have applied, of which 34.7% are women, 26.7% are young people under 35. 2,905 people have been nominated from the primary party organisations, and 6,258 are self-nominated.

All of them represent various social groups, including mothers with many children, people with special needs. Civil society activists, prominent journalists and other opinion leaders are showing great interest in the primaries.

We have developed projects for 216 regional election programs, which we plan to publish in early September and apply the crowdfunding method. We are open to suggestions, constructive criticism and are ready to respond to society’s requests for systemic changes.

NE: When will the results of the reboot be published?

BB: As I said above, the nomination and registration of candidates began on August 17 and ended on Friday 28. Seven days will be allotted to prepare for campaigning – from August 31 to September 6.

Campaigning will take place from September 7 to October 3, including public debates from September 14 to 30. From October 1 (00.00) to October 3 (14.00), it is planned to conduct electronic voting through a mobile application and a special web portal.

On the last day of voting (October 3), polling stations were set up on the basis of primary party organisations.

The results of the primaries with ratings of candidates will be published on October 5.

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