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2005-10-05 04:39:00
US Office Almaty
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						UNCLAS  ALMATY 003455 



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) This is the third in a series of weekly election
roundups, in advance of Kazakhstan's December 4, 2005
presidential elections. Items were drawn primarily from
the local press and media.

Pre-Registration of Candidates


2. (U) As of October 4, the Central Election Commission
(CEC) had received 18 applications for registration from
would-be candidates for presidency. Five have been
disqualified for failing to pass the Kazakh proficiency
test. Thirteen candidates have met the requirements for
candidacy. Before October 3 the would-be candidates have
to collect about 85,000 signatures in support of their
candidacy. The registration of successful would-be
candidates will last from October 3 to October 24. The
election campaign will start on October 25.

3. (SBU) As of October 4, Tuyakbay had collected more than
160,000 signatures. According to Tuyakbay, local
authorities were putting obstacles in the way of his
team's signature collection efforts by intimidating the
collectors and forcing the electorate to give false
information to the collectors. Tuyakbay also complained
about the broad coverage the press and electronic media
was giving to President Nazarbayev.

4. (U) On September 29 CEC chairman Onalsyn Zhumabekov
rebuked Tuyakbay for alleging that the authorities
encouraged many candidates to run for presidency.
Zhumabekov said: "It is absolutely an incorrect statement.
According to the constitution, any eligible person may run
for presidency."

Election Preparations


5. (U) The CEC continued with its routine procedures in
preparation for the elections. On September 28, the
earlier approved rules for pre-election campaigning in the
media were published. The CEC also announced its final
decision on the use of e-voting at 1475 of 9697 precincts,
about 16 per cent of all regional (oblast) centers
including the cities of Almaty, Astana, Semipalatinsk,
Zhezkazgan, Ekibastuz, Temirtau and Rudny. The decision
was made in spite of objections by opposition parties.

6. (U) The CEC issued a resolution to increase cooperation
with media outlets in order to provide equal access to
information and unbiased coverage of the elections and
will operate a press center at the CEC. At the same time
the CEC imposed closer control over media publications on
elections with an ad hoc group set up at the CEC
responsible for monitoring the media.

7. (U) The CEC also announced its decision that all
candidates will be required to keep their campaign funds

in Halyk Bank. Earlier, FJK leader Zharmakhan Tuyakbay
filed a lawsuit against the CEC for choosing Halyk Bank
without holding a tender as required by law. The Supreme
Court dismissed the lawsuit and the CEC reaffirmed its
decision to use Halyk Bank.

Opposition Raises Illegal Privatizations


8. (U) At an Almaty press conference on September 22, the
leaders of the For a Just Kazakhstan opposition block
raised the issue of the alleged illegal privatization of
many of Kazakhstan's major enterprises in the late 1990s.
According to an anti-corruption commission set up by the
opposition block, enterprises illegally privatized in 1997
included the major copper giant "Balkhashmys" and
Dzhezkazgan City power supply company. In addition, the
opposition urged the government to purchase the Shymkent
refinery from PetroKazakhstan and 51% of its shares before
permitting the sale of the company to the Chinese CNPC oil
giant. The opposition leaders also suggested that the
sale of 49% of shares of KazMunayGas subsidiary
"Exploration and Extraction" should be suspended.

Parties Support Nazarbayev


9. (SBU) President Nazarbayev appears to be using the
nomination campaign as an opportunity for more informal
campaigning around the country. On September 23, the Civic
Party held its party meeting in Pavlodar, and on September
28, the Agrarian party in Petropavlovsk announced it would
formally nominate Nazarbayev as their candidate.
President Nazarbayev attended both meetings, which took on
the air of well-funded rallies in support of his
candidacy. The smaller Aul and Patriots' parties, along
with a number of public organizations ranging from the
Union of Writers to the Trade Union of Communication
Workers, also announced their support of Nazarbayev
candidacy. According to the Otan leader Bakhytzhan
Zhumagulov, over 170 organizations have joined the
Kazakhstan People's Coalition in support of Nazarbayev.



10. (SBU) Parliamentarians are becoming more involved in
this campaign than in previous years. On September 28,
leaders of pro-presidential parties met with MPs to
encourage them to serve as Nazarbayev's formal
representatives in the December 4 elections. Otan's acting
leader Zhumagulov has assured MPs that this is allowed by
current legislation. They can work closely with the
electorate and disclose and resolve potential problems.
The majority of Mazhilis members reportedly showed
eagerness take on this role. Following Dariga
Nazarbayeva's call that the elections should be used as a
powerful instrument for the implementation of MPs' own
agenda - construction of housing and roads, water supply,
etc. - MPs began with debate on the draft 2006 national

11. (U) A few voices in Parliament have come out in
support of the opposition. Member of the Mazhilis Tokhtar
Aubakirov issued a statement criticizing Vremya Print for
refusing to print opposition newspapers without any
explanation or notice. MP Aubakirov formally requested
that Minister of Culture, Information and Sports Yeset
Kosubayev look into this incident of "an information
blockade" of candidates and violation of media and
election legislation. In a surprising move, Tokhtarkhan
Nurakhmetov, one of the initiators of the recent national
security amendments and the NGO legislation, called on his
colleagues to treat all candidates with due respect.

Criticism of the Opposition


12. (U) There has been significant criticism of opposition
parties by the CEC and pro-presidential parties. CEC
Chairman Zhumabekov and Otan leader Zhumagulov criticized
Tuyakbay's statement that the nomination of many
candidates was set up by the government. On September 28,
Mazhilis member Mikhail Troshikhin alleged that FJK was
bribing voters in order to obtain signatures in support of
Tuyakbay. On September 29, three Almaty students held a
press conference to allege that they were forced to
participate in opposition meetings by threats and deceit.

Mass Media Charter for a Fair Election


13. (U) Twenty two pro-government mass media outlets,
including Kazakhstanskaya Pravda and Yegemendy Kazakstan
national daily newspapers, and Khabar and Kazakhstan TV
channels (broadcasting nationwide), have signed a mass
media charter committing:
- to prevent the use of "dirty" political technologies and
compromising warfare,
- to contribute to holding free and fare election,
- to conduct professional activities in accordance with
current legislation and ethical norms of civic society,
- to provide every candidate with an equal opportunity to
express his(her) point of view,
- to prevent the dissemination of derogatory information
that damages the dignity and honor of candidates,
- to prevent the use of election technologies in the
interest of political extremists and criminals,
- to follow the principle that it is the voter's job to
make a choice, and
- to only provide factual materials and not force their
own opinions or assessments.

Opposition Papers Lose Printing House


14. (U) On September 28, the editors-in-chiefs of
opposition newspapers Svododa Slova, Epokha, Apta-kz,
Pravda Kazakhstana, Zhuma-Times, Soz, and Azat newspapers
announced a hunger strike in protest of the private Vremya
printing house's sudden cancellations of their contracts.
The opposition saw the cancellation as a politically
motivated step in the run-up to the presidential election.
In response, two printing houses, Dauir and Asia-press,
offered their services. On September 29 the opposition
newspapers' editors-in-chiefs reached an agreement with
Svetlana Nazarbayeva, the director of government-
controlled Dauir Printing House.