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News Analysis: Early presidential election helps maintain stability in Kazakhstan

English.news.cn   2015-02-26 23:50:28

ASTANA, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- An early presidential election in Kazakhstan will help maintain the country's political and economic stability, and will be conducive to efforts of the Central Asia's largest country to tide over its current economic hardships, an expert told Xinhua.

An early election will help Kazakhstan consolidate policy consistency and maintain social and economic stability, said Yang Jin of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"It is partly a reaction to Kazakhstan's economic difficulties and the region's geopolitical, security and economic challenges within the context of the Ukrainian crisis," Yang said.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced Wednesday in a national television address that Kazakhstan would hold a snap presidential election on April 26, which is more than one year ahead of its original schedule.

While the 74-year-old leader refrained from confirming his participation in the coming election, it's hard to find another political figure in this former Soviet republic who can pose a substantial challenge to him.

Nazarbayev noted that one of the key reasons for the advancement is to avert the foreseeable collision of presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.

The Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan was the first to call for an early presidential election, citing economic difficulties, which was supported by government departments and national organizations.

"Nazarbayev wants to reduce uncertainties by winning presidency again, and to ensure the consistency of his policies," said Yang.

Kazakhstan faces an economic slowdown, with the government forecasting that its GDP growth will shrink from 4.5 percent to 1.5 percent in 2015, due to the falling oil prices.

Kazakhstan depends heavily on its energy sector. Energy revenues make up 25 percent of the county's GDP and 60 percent of the government revenue. Astana had to cut its 2015 budget by 10 percent after the sharp drop in oil prices.

Meanwhile, devaluation of the ruble has dealt a blow to Kazakhstan's export.

"Kazakhstan has a strong sense of crisis now, which leads to a strong demand for domestic stability and foreign relations," said Yang, adding "an early election brings just that."

Nazarbayev is the first and so far the only president of Kazakhstan since its independence in 1991. He has kept a support rate of more than 90 percent in all previous elections.

During his current term, Nazarbayev proposed a long-term development plan know as "Kazakhstan-2050," envisioning Kazakhstan's entry into the list of the world's 30 most developed countries.

In face of economic woes, the president offered tax cuts, created free economic zones and simplified procedures to attract foreign investment.

The president needs a fresh mandate to ensure the implementation of his policies. Analysts believed that he will also call for an early parliamentary election if necessary.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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