Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan

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Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (Demokraticheskii Vybor Kazakhstana, Qazaqstannyn Demokratiyalyk Tandau) was a political party in Kazakhstan. It was disbanded in February 2005 before the presidential elections.


It was founded as a result of a split within ruling elite that erupted into a full-scale crisis in November 2001. The roots of the crisis is not clear, yet it appears that a conflict of interests between a group of reformist bureaucrats, including the governor of Pavlodar region, Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, deputy premier Oraz Zhandosov and Mukhtar Ablyazov, former minister of Energy and the owner of Astana holding, and President Nazarbayev’s son-in law Rakhat Aliyev prompted the former to declare establishment of a pro-business, pro-reform movement called Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan. Founders of the movement included deputy defense minister Zhannat Yertlesova, deputy finance minister Kairat Kelimbetov, and leading businessmen, the head of the Kazkommertz bank Nurzhan Subkhanberdin and Bulat Abilov. The then prime minister, Tokaev harshly criticized the movement and asked the founders to resign from their government posts. The crisis was contained as a result of the intervention of Nazarbayev. Tokaev was reassigned as the foreign minister, while Rakhat Aliyev was transferred to Vienna as ambassador. Zhakiyanov, Zhandosov, Ablyazov and others were fired from their government positions.[1]


DCK, from its foundation, embraced a number of influential politicians and wealthy businessmen of the country who grew disillusioned with the inner circles of president Nazarbayev. The movement adopted a strong anti-Nazarbayev stance and criticized the corruption and nepotism of the president and his clique. Despite repeated attempts, authorities did not register DCK as a political movement. A party, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan; was founded out of the movement and participated in the 2004 parliamentary elections in a bloc with Serikbolsin Abdildin’s Communist Party. The bloc failed to win any seats in the parliament. Two founding members of the movement, Galymzhan Zhakiyanov and Mukhtar Ablyazov were convicted of embezzlement and misuse of their position for private gain and were sentenced to seven and six years prison terms. .[2] Ablyazov was released on health reasons and Zhakiyanov was pardoned in the winter of 2006.


DCK was disbanded in February 2005 before the presidential elections. But the party-led coalition of opposition forces, For a Just Kazakhstan, nominated former deputy chair of the OTAN party, Zharmakhan Tuyakbay as a presidential candidate in the elections held on 4 December 2005. Tuyakbay received 6% of the votes. DCK was split in the spring of 2002 as a group of moderate members, including Oraz Zhandosov, Bulat Abilov and Alikhan Baimenov established the center- right Ak Zhol Party. Later, Ak Zhol also gave birth to another party, Naghyz Ak Zhol, led by Bulat Abilov, Altynbek Sarsenbaev and Oraz Zhandosov. DCK leaders have been trying to reregister the party with a new name Alga! Kazakhstan.[3]


  1. ^ Barbara Junisbai, Azamat Junisbai, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan: A Case Study in Economic Liberalization, Intraelite Cleavage, and Political Opposition, Demokratizatsiya, Summer 2005.
  2. ^ Nurbulat Masanov, Political development of sovereign Kazakhstan, (Years 1992 through 2002),International Eurasian Institute for Economic and Political Research,, (accessed on February, 05, 2007)
  3. ^ Cengiz Surucu, 4 Aralık 2005 Kazakistan Başkanlık Seçimleri Üzerine Gözlemler, OAKA, vol: 1, No: 1, 2006, pp. 153-158