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Kazakhstan's 'Godsend' Presidential Nominee

Amantai-kazhy Asylbek already lost once in the 2005 race for president.
Amantai-kazhy Asylbek already lost once in the 2005 race for president.
Kazakh voters have now got something to smile about in the country's rather dull and predictable presidential election campaign.

A colorful, Borat-style character with eyebrow-raising policy proposals has entered Kazakhstan's presidential race.

Amantai-kazhy Asylbek, a 70-year-old presidential nominee, vows to find husbands for all single Kazakh women -- whose number, according to Asylbek, is quite high and on the rise.

Asylbek suggests marrying them off as second wives to already married men. The presidential hopeful, however, insists men should get the consent of their first wives before marrying younger women.

Asylbek says he wouldn't mind taking a much younger woman as his second wife himself, if his much-beloved wife Klara allowed him to do so. There are many young women knocking on my door willing to marry him, but none of them has so far been able to pass a "quality test," Asylbek told local media.

On a more serious note, Asylbek wants to root out corruption in Kazakhstan as a part of his broader plan to fight international mafia and all evil in the world.

He promotes good deeds, advises people not to waste their time, and to do something good "between yesterday and tomorrow."

Asylbek has a history of running for president. He first sought to register as a candidate in the 1998 elections, but was disqualified for taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration. In 2005 he finally managed to register as a candidate but failed to win.

Asylbek calls himself a blue-blood saint with a divine mission, but ultimately he is a realist. "People of Kazakhstan support me, but the authorities will prevent me from running, as the president sees a real rival in me," he told Kazakh media.

-- Farangis Najibullah