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Citizens in Kazakhstan are High on Nazarbayev, Tepid on Democratization

Kazakhstan holds the reins for the OSCE chair in 2010. (Photo: OSCE/Eric Gourlan)

Kazakhstan’s performance so far as chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe perhaps has been a source of disappointment in some foreign circles. But President Nursultan Nazarbayev continues to enjoy robust popular support at home. And recent polling data indicates that the people of Kazakhstan are not firmly convinced that democracy is the best form of government for their country.

The poll, conducted by Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization on behalf of the Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI), showed that 91 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Nazarbayev, up 7 percent from a poll conducted in May 2009 and 4 percent from one in October 2009. The latest survey questioned 1,527 adults nationwide from April 3-13 and has a margin of error of 2.5 percent.

The results of the poll were released on May 19, less than a week after parliament passed legislation aimed at shoring up Nazarbayev’s already significant powers. [For background see EurasiaNet’s archive].

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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.

Citizens in Kazakhstan are High on Nazarbayev, Tepid on Democratization

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