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Kazakh Parliament Deputy Advocates Dissolution Of Legislature

Kazakh parliament deputy Irak Elekeev
ASTANA -- Kazakh parliament deputy Irak Elekeev says the parliament should be dissolved as it has failed to fight corruption, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Addressing the Majlis -- Kazakhastan's lower chamber of parliament -- Elekeev said on May 18 that "if we are really incapable of doing anything [against corruption], let us dissolve."

Elekeev mentioned the arrest earlier this month of several top Kazakh customs officials for alleged involvement in smuggling. "Real parliament deputies should be like a firefighting team when dealing with the theft of billions from the state treasury," he argued.

Elekeev told RFE/RL that he felt compelled to raise the issue as he can no longer tolerate the situation.

"There is no way to stand it any more," he said. "If we are [parliament] deputies, we have to work. I have responsibilities delegated by the [ruling] Nur-Otan Party, by my voters, and that is why I have raised this issue. If we keep mum, saying nothing, then why are we here [in the parliament]? If we are unable to protect our people's interests, what on Earth are we doing here?"

Former parliament deputy Ualikhan Qaisar told RFE/RL on May 18 that Elekeev's challenge to the parliament is part of a political game.

He recalled that some people thought the parliament would be dissolved immediately after the preterm presidential election on April 3 in which President Nursultan Nazarbaev was overwhelmingly reelected in a vote deemed neither free nor fair by international election monitoring groups.

"I know who wrote that text for [Elekeev]," he said, adding that he knew "such a proposal would be raised in parliament," which he described as "proof of the assumption shared by people, politicians, and political observers that the parliament will be dissolved this year."

Nazarbaev, 70, has ruled Kazakhstan for more than 20 years.

Read more in Kazakh here