Political parties in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan's political parties, NGOs and Media

The ideas of a civil society, a law-abiding state and free market economy were taken as a basis of our country's development. Basic principles of civil society in Kazakhstan are the recognition of ideological and political pluralism and separation of state and public institutions. Citizen's rights to establish political, public and professional organizations are legally protected.

The development of non-governmental organizations is one of the most significant achievements. They carry out the role of intermediaries between the State and citizens, commit many functions of social transformation in the society, and contribute a lot to various areas of social life: human rights, democracy, elections, ecology, equal rights of women in the society, consumer rights, youth rights, single mothers and families with many children, orphans, invalids, victims of illegal reprisals, etc.

More than 4,500 non-governmental organizations are functioning in the country today, solving social problems and promoting more active involvement of citizens in the society's democratization processes. About 35 thousand individuals are permanently employed by NGOs, 50 thousand are temporarily employed as experts and more than 100 thousand individuals act as volunteers. At the first stage of their development, non-governmental organizations existed basically on foreign grants. During this time, more than 500 non-governmental organizations were established. These non-governmental organizations were aimed basically at civil rights protection.

The 1998 Program of democratization of the country increased the role of non-governmental organizations as a key element of the democratization of Kazakhstan society. Conditions of non-governmental sector development have changed cardinally today. Comprehension of the important role of this social institute by the society is progressing now. The quality of organizational and practical support by the state of non-governmental organizations acquires now a special meaning.

In 2001 the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On not-for-profit organizations" was adopted and became a real step towards the recognition of the role and place of non-governmental organizations. Registration of the non-governmental organizations was greatly simplified.

The Concept of State support of non-governmental organizations was adopted in January 2002. It determines the purposes and priorities of state support of non-governmental organizations. Recognized leaders of the non-governmental sector, as well as representatives of international organizations (UNDP, TASIS and Counterpart Consortium) took part in the development of the Concept.

The Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On the Program of state support of non-governmental organizations of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2003-2005 ", was adopted in 2003. The purpose of the Program of state support to non-governmental organizations of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the creation of conditions for the sustainable development of non-governmental organizations as an indispensable part of the civil society and strengthening of their role in resolving significant social problems of the society on the basis of interaction with the Government. Development of the new Laws "On non-governmental organizations in the Republic of Kazakhstan" and "On the State social order" has begun. Laws are aimed at the formation of the new model of relations in realization of the social policy in the Republic of Kazakhstan, creation of steady and effective system of relations between the state and public sector, maintenance the legal basis of activity of non-governmental organizations and carrying out of the State social order by them on a competitive basis.

MASS MEDIA development in Kazakhstan and protection of journalist rights

A capable information market has been developed in Kazakhstan . One can refer to the appearance of a prevailing sector of non-governmental mass media, considerable diversity of the information field, and the creation and activity of large media companies.

If by 1990 only 10 national newspapers and magazines were published and 21 TV and radio stations broadcast, as of July 1, 2004, 2041 mass media bodies exist, including 1211 newspapers, 477 magazines, 124 TV and radio stations, 15 news agencies and 159 electronic media outlets. 85% of media outlets in Kazakhstan are non-governmental.

Public associations own 159 media outlets, 11 publications belong to political parties and movements, and religious associations own 10. The media market is characterized by considerable diversity. Political newspapers and magazines as well as information, advertising, entertainment, religious, women's, youth, children's, technical and many other special publications are issued.

The newspapers and magazines are published and TV and radio stations broadcast in 11 languages. Besides the main Kazakh and Russian productions they include Ukrainian, Polish, English, German, Korean, Uygur, Turkish, Dungan, etc. These ethnic minorities' mass media outlets are provided with government financial support. Internet, air-cable and cable TV are rapidly developing. Up-to-date technologies are widely used in the information market - national TV and radio stations broadcast via the national satellite TV system, Kazakhstan TV and radio broadcasters widely use digital technology, and the international CaspioNet satellite channel (the operator is Eutelsat) was opened in 2002. Programs of the BBC, CNN, Deutsche Welle, Freedom Radio Station, Polish TV Polonia, Russian and other TV channels are widely telecast. Over 80 representatives of foreign mass media from 20 countries, including the largest news agencies such as the BBC, Associated Press, Interfax, France Press, Xinhua, Reuters, ITAR-TASS, Bridge news, etc. are accredited in Kazakhstan.

This diversity of companies and languages promotes the rapid development of the Kazakhstan mass media and creates a unique palette of the information field in Kazakhstan. A liberal and democratic government information policy is the basis for these processes. The main mechanisms of this policy are: - legal guarantees and practical insurance of the principles of freedom of speech, free reception and dissemination of information, censorship prohibition; continuing improvement of the legal framework of mass media activity; annual placing of budget financed government orders for the implementation of government information policy. A right to get this order is assigned through a contest among mass media bodies irrespective of their ownership. This measure has allowed for the creation of equal conditions for receiving government financial support by both government and non-government press, consequently encouraging their creative activity and business initiative; a transparent process of receiving frequencies for TV and radio broadcasting.

The Commission on providing rights for radio frequency use comprises representatives of the Parliament, international and Kazakhstan public associations. Activity of the Commission is widely covered by the mass media; and creation of economic conditions for mass media growth. All publications and TV stations are exempted from VAT.

Charges for the use of radio frequencies decrease almost every year; continuing and constructive cooperation with public associations, international organizations, media research institutes in the area of mass media development. Journalists' rights associations, such as the Journalists Congress of Kazakhstan, Journalists Union of Kazakhstan, TV and radio broadcasters Association of Kazakhstan, and offices of international organizations (the OSCE, Human Rights Watch, Internews network, Adil Soz, etc.) fruitfully work in Kazakhstan; and pay close attention to journalists' development. To this end, every year the government provides grants and loans for education in this field, and a TV Journalism School was established. An important event in the area of mass media was the creation of a Public Council on Mass Media (information policy). This entity comprises MPs, the Chairman of the Board of the Journalists Union of Kazakhstan, the President of the TV and radio broadcasters Association of Kazakhstan, and Editors-in-Chief and journalists of leading mass media bodies. At the moment, a new Law on Mass Media that is aimed at further improvement of journalist's rights protection and accordance of information law of Kazakhstan with international standards and practice is being developed.

Political parties of Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan there are 9 officially registered political parties.

Agrarian party of Kazakhstan The head of the party is Madinov Romin Rizovich. The party was registered the 16th of March 1999. There 60,000 members of this party. The party has structural subdivisions in 12 regions, cities, in Astana and Almaty. The social basis of the party is rural commodity producers, farmers, small business owners, rural cooperatives and partnerships. Party goals: - protection of the agrarian workers' political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights and interests; - active participation in political life of the society; - influence the formation of political will of peasants, village inhabitants; - participation in the elections to the central and local state bodies; - to promote the economic development of the agrarian branch, its social status and living standards improvement. At the elections to the Majilis (lower Chamber of Parliament) 19 September 2004 the Agrarian party participated within Agrarian industrial union of workers. They got 7.07% of the vote.

Civil party of Kazakhstan First secretary of the party - Peruashev Azat Turlybekovich. The party was registered the 29th of December, 1999. There are 100 thousand members of the party. The party has branches in every region, in Astana and Almaty. Its social basis is representation of industrial enterprises, workers, and engineers. Party goals are: - statehood strengthening and development; - formation of legal state principals; - equality in the eye of the law; - purification of state bodies from corrupt civil servants; - to bring law and order in all spheres of state and public life; - business expansion; - strengthening the material well-being and social status of citizen and family. At single mandate district Party elected to the Majilis deputies 14 of its members.

The democratic party of Kazakhstan "Ak zhol" The head of the party is Baimenov Alikhan Mukhamedievich. The party was registered the 3rd of March 2004. There 172 thousand members. Party goals: independent, flourishing, democratic and free Kazakhstan. Fundamental values: democracy, independence, freedom and justice. The party "Ak zhol" is one of the initiators of the creation of the 3 party Coordination council (DVK, KPK and Ak zhol) for candidate nomination from the opposition at the 2006 presidential elections. The party actively participates in conciliation commissions among the opposition on recommendations drafting further democratization of Kazakhstan. During Majilis elections the party got 12.04% of the vote. In the Majilis there are two mandates of the party.

Democratic party of Kazakhstan The party is headed by Narikbayev Maksyt Sultanovich. The party was registered the 14th of June 2004. There are 60 thousand members. The party has its branches in all regions of Kazakhstan. The principal goal is to build in Kazakhstan a legal democratic social state; to create an effective and developed economic system, the formation of civil society. There is one deputy in the Majilis. During the elections to the Majilis received 0.76% of the vote.

The Communist party of Kazakhstan The party is headed by Abdyldyn Serykbolsun Abdyldaevich. Registered the 28th of February 1994, re-registered the 17th of February 1997. There are 100 thousand members. Represented in all regions of Kazakhstan. Members are war and labor veterans, workers, and pensioners. Principal goals: create the conditions in order to build a society of freedom and social justice based on principles of scientific socialism; to build a communist system. The party is oppositional. During the Majilis elections in 2004 the Communist party got 3.44% of the vote, has no mandates in Parliament.

Communist national party of Kazakhstan First secretary is Kosarev Vladislav. Registered the 21st of June 2004. There 70 thousand members. Workers, students, intelligentsia, pensioners, unemployed and entrepreneurs support the party. The activity is based on Marxist-Leninist ideology adapted to the actual conditions of social development. During the elections to the Majilis in 2004 the party got 1.98% of the vote. It has no deputies in the Majilis. Republican political party "Otan" The party is headed by Zhumagulov Bahitzhan. The party was registered in February 1999. There are approximately 200 thousand members. "Otan" is represented in all regions, in Astana and Almaty. Its social basis is civil servants, students, creative and scientific intelligentsia, and entrepreneurs. Party goals: - to contribute to economic and political reforms; - raise the people's living standards; - establishment of social stability and reservation of state stability; - strengthening of international and inter-faith accord; There are 53 deputies from this party in Parliament.

Republican political party "Asar" The head of the party is Nazarbayeva Dariga Nursultanovna. It was registered in December 2003. There are approximately 200 thousand members. "Asar" declares to build an economically strong, democratic, legal and social state with developed institutions of civil society, deepening democratic transformations, and Kazakhstanis' welfare improvement. During the elections to the Majilis the party got 11.38% and has four deputies in Parliament.

"Ruhaniyat" party (spirituality) The party is headed by Zhaganova Altynshash Kairzhanovna. The party was registered the 6th of October 2003. There are 53,931 members. Its social basis is education, public health, science and cultural sphere workers, civil servants, administrative and engineering personnel , entrepreneurs, students. Party goals: economic growth, resolving of social issues, development of a society of high morals and spiritual wealth. They would play the shaft role between executive power and the people. They got 0.44% of votes and have no deputy in Parliament.