As preparations begin for Kazakhstan's parliamentary elections this fall, a new political party, led by the president's daughter, has already solidified its standing as the front-runner. Opposition activists say the rapid rise of Dariga Nazarbayeva's Asar Party has more to do with the possible dynastic ambitions of Kazakhstan's current leader than it does with its ability to appeal to voters.
Since Asar's registration as a political party last December, Nazarbayeva has repeatedly suggested that she should be viewed as an adjunct to President Nursultan Nazarbayev. "Our task now is to form a new social majority that backs the president's policy," Nazarbayeva said, according to a February 24 report published by the Kazakhstan Today web site. "This majority will support the president in the next elections, and also in the subsequent years."
At Asar's February 24 party conference, the president's daughter announced that Asar (All Together) had 172,000 members, making it the second largest political party in Kazakhstan after the pro-presidential Otan (Homeland) Party. Nazarbayeva has claimed that up to one-third of Kazakhstani citizens, or roughly 5.5 million people, supports the Asar
Alima Bisenova is a freelance journalist, based in Astana, Kazakhstan.