Ak Zhol Democratic Party
|Seats in Mazhilis|
7 / 107
The Ak Zhol Democratic Party (Kazakh: Ақ жол Демократиялық Партиясы, romanized: Aq Jol Demokratııalyq Partııasy; Russian: Демократическая партия «Ак жол»), commonly referred to simply as Ak Zhol (Kazakh: Ақ жол, lit. 'Bright Path') is a liberal political party in Kazakhstan.
Aq Jol was founded in March 2002 when a group of moderates split from the more radical Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan movement, founded in November 2001 by anti-Nazarbayev activists. The new more moderate party ran on a pro-reform, pro-business platform, and in contrast to the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan movement, its leaders refrained from openly confronting Nursultan Nazarbayev. Aq Jol was founded by Oraz Zhandosov, Bulat Abilov and Alikhan Baimenov. Ex-information minister Altynbek Sarsenbaev later joined the party.
The Ak Zhol party nominated Daniya Yespayeva as its candidate for the 2019 presidential election of Kazakhstan. It was the first time ever a woman ran for President in the country. Yespayeva received 5.05 percent (465,714) of votes. Yespayeva's participation in the election received praise from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly election observation mission as a good start for a higher women's representation in politics.
Ak Zhol received 12% of the votes at the last legislative elections in September 2004. Alikhan Baimenov refused to accept the only seat the party received at the 77 member Majlis until October 2006 when he reversed his position and joined parliament as the only deputy of an opposition party. The party advocated democratization of the political system, particularly elections of governors (akims) at all levels of the administrative system.
In the spring of 2005, Sarsenbaev, Abilov and Zhandosov split from the party to form a dissident faction named Naghyz Ak Zhol (True Bright Path). At the last presidential elections on 4 December 2005 Ak Zhol did not join the coalition of opposition forces For a Just Kazakhstan and nominated Alikhan Baimenov, the chair, as the party candidate. Baimenov won 1.61% of the popular vote. One of the party leaders who later joined the Naghyz Ak Zhol party, Altynbek Sarsenbaev, was killed near Almaty in February 2006 soon after the presidential elections. In the 18 August 2007 Assembly elections, the party won 3.27% of the popular vote and no seats. All seats were won by the ruling Nur-Otan party. In the 2012 Majilis election, the party won 8 seats and thus becoming one of three parties represented in the legislature. The party won 7 seats in the 2016 Majilis elections.
Despite officially being in opposition, the party is considered as loyal to the regime and often votes with the government.
|Election year||Candidate||# of overall votes||% of overall vote||Result|
|Election||Seats won||±||Total votes||Share of votes||Position||Party leader|
1 / 77
0 / 98
|1||183,346||3.10%||No seats in the Mazhilis|
8 / 98
7 / 98
- Cengiz Surucu, 4 Aralık 2005 Kazakistan Başkanlık Seçimleri Üzerine Gözlemler, OAKA, vol: 1, No: 1, 2006, pp. 153-158.
- "Kazakhstan could see first female presidential candidate as Ak Zhol party nominates Daniya Yespayeva". astanatimes.com.
- "Kassym-Jomart Tokayev elected Kazakhstan's president with 70.96 percent of the vote". astanatimes.com.
- "OSCE expert hails practice of women's participation in Kazakhstan presidential election". kazinform.
- Joanna Lillis, Kazakhstan Experiences Political Shift, Eurasia Insight, October 17, 2006, http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav101706.shtml Archived 2007-06-10 at the Wayback Machine
- Kazakhstan Elections 2005, http://www.kazelection2005.org Archived 2007-10-31 at the Wayback Machine