On July 1 representatives from 10 Kazakh political parties and nongovernmental organizations leaders met in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss liberalizing the country’s political party law. The roundtable discussion, organized jointly by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), provided a public forum to discuss impediments that are preventing Kazakhstan from meeting its commitment to the members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Following the roundtable a resolution was adopted by the political parties calling for the government of Kazakhstan to fulfill promises to liberalize laws on political parties, and to establish working groups that include all registered parties to move this process forward. IRI is hopeful that this will be the start of cooperation between the government and the political parties, to ensure that parties have in active role in the decision-making process.
Last year, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin made commitments to the 56 member states of the OSCE that Kazakhstan would liberalize the registration requirements for political parties by the end of 2008. However, Kazakhstan has yet to draft a new political party law or amend the current law. Kazakhstan is due to assume the OSCE chairmanship in 2010.
The IRI/NDI roundtable was also attended by members of the U.S. and British embassies, and Members of Parliament from numerous OSCE member countries.