Kazakh Party To Boycott January Parliamentary Elections

The All-National Social Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (OSDP), which bills itself as an opposition group, has announced that it will boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The party leader Askhat Rakhimzhanov said that the OSDP will not take part in the January 10, 2021 elections, saying that the Central Asian nation’s political scene continues to be dominated by the “same” political elite.

"The same rules, the same political parties,” Rakhimzhanov said without elaborating.

The decision not to take part in the polls was made during the party conference on November 27, when the majority of the participants voted for boycotting the elections.

The Kazakh government has said six registered political parties will take part in the elections. The parties include the ruling Nur Otan, four pro-government parties -- Aq Zhol, Auyl, Birlik, and the Communist People's Party -- and the OSDP.

The polls will be the first parliamentary elections since President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev succeeded Nursultan Nazarbaev, who resigned in March last year after nearly three decades in power.

Nazarbaev still maintains key positions of power, including head of the country’s powerful Security Council and the ruling Nur Otan party. He also enjoys almost limitless powers and immunity as elbasy -- leader of the nation.

The 107-seat Majlis is currently dominated by Nazarbaev’s Nur Otan, which has 84 deputies.

The Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan and the Aq Zhol party each have seven seats.

The remaining nine seats are appointed by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, an advisory body controlled by Nazarbaev.

The last parliamentary elections were held in March 2016.