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Majlis Podcast: Kazakhstan's New Rules For Rallies And Upcoming Elections


Around 300 people took part in a sanctioned rally on October 31 in Almaty, demanding political reforms and an end to politically motivated persecutions.

When longtime president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, stepped down from office on March 19, 2019, it heralded a new era in Kazakh politics in many ways, not the least of which was a renewed inspiration among many, particularly the youth of the country, to go out on the streets and demonstrate for changes.

The new president, Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, has promised to ease past restrictions and implement reforms, some of which he says will help provide the basis for opposition groups to take a greater part in the country's political process.

But to date, there seems to be little progress.

There was an opposition rally on October 31 in the country's biggest city, Almaty, and in many other cities groups tried but failed to get permission to hold rallies.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for January 10, 2021, and on November 5, a request from Kazakhstan's Democratic Party to hold a rally in Almaty was officially approved. But with or without permission, more rallies seem inevitable, even in these times of global pandemic.

On this week's Majlis Podcast, RFE/RL's media-relations manager for South and Central Asia, Muhammad Tahir, moderates a discussion that looks at the rallies and attempted rallies of October 31, the difference in what authorities promised about the right to freedom of assembly and what is actually happening, and what we might expect in the weeks leading up to parliamentary elections, the first in Kazakhstan since Toqaev became president.

This week's guests are, speaking from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, independent journalist Aigul Zhamal; from Almaty, political analyst Shalkar Nurseitov: also from Almaty, from RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, known locally as Azattyq, Mukhtar Senggirbay; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.

Majlis Podcast: Kazkhstan's Opposition And The Upcoming Elections
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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