NUR-SULTAN — Darigha Nazarbaeva, the eldest daughter of Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, is one of the 76 lawmakers from the party led by her father who acceded to the newly elected parliament.
Nur Otan, the party led by Nazarbaev, on January 12 published the list of its members, including the 57-year-old Nazarbaeva, elected to the 107-member lower chamber, the Mazhilis, after January 10 elections, which were called “uncompetitive” by international observers.
In May last year, President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, Nazarbaev’s hand-picked successor, removed Darigha Nazarbaeva from the post of speaker of the parliament’s upper chamber, the Senate, as well as from her seat in parliament.
Nazarbaeva’s dismissal from the post that put her second in line to the head of state has been seen by many in the oil-rich Central Asian nation as a result of an ongoing struggle between financial and political groups.
Nazarbaev, 80, is widely seen as the country’s top decision-maker despite leaving the presidency in March 2019 after ruling the oil-rich Central Asian nation for nearly three decades. In addition to leading the Nur Otan Party, he holds a lifetime post as chairman of the powerful Security Council and enjoys almost limitless powers as elbasy — leader of the nation.
Earlier in the day, Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission said that the Aq Zhol (Bright Path) party won 12 seats, and the People’s Party (formerly the Communist People’s Party) secured 10 seats in the Mazhilis.
On January 11, the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, an advisory body controlled by Nazarbaev, elected nine members of the Mazhilis, a duty defined by election legislation.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which had observers in the resource-rich country, said in a statement on January 11 that “an uncompetitive campaign and systemic de-facto limitations on constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms left voters without genuine choice.”
Observers have deemed past elections in Kazakhstan neither free nor fair, and fraught with electoral fraud, repression of opposition candidates, and restrictions on a free press.
Kazakhstan’s All-National Social Democratic Party (OSDP), which describes itself as an opposition party, boycotted the January 10 vote saying nothing had changed this time around despite Nazarbaev’s pivot to a less conspicuous public role after he stepped down.
After detaining several activists in the run-up to the vote, police kept up the pressure on election day, detaining dozens in major cities across the country.