“Opposition Free” Elections in Kazakhstan & Reminiscent Of ‘Borat’

Kazakhstan "Opposition Free" Elections Reminiscent Of 'Borat'

With the ruling party of Kazakhstan comfortably securing victory in an election widely calledopposition free“, the event has recalled the depiction of the country in the renowned ‘mockumentary’ Borat. Let’s see what evokes this reminiscence.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Election
Nur Otan is the ruling party of Kazakhstan. In the recent parliamentary election, the party won with a 71% vote.

The Catch?

  • The election was mainly “opposition free”.
  • National Social Democratic Party (NSDP) is the only registered party against Nur Otan in Kazakhstan.
  • NSDP did not field candidates in this election as a “protest” method, thus providing it with the title being widely used.

Intra-Party Election

  • 4 other parties competed with Nur Otan. However, all are its allies and support it.
  • No elections in the history of Kazakhstan have been recognized ‘fair’ since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

As all political parties contesting the elections supported the policies of the ruling party, the campaign was not competitive, and voters had no genuine political alternatives to choose from.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Kazakhstan elections

Reminds Of Borat?

  • Satirical movie Borat is widely credited for making people across the world aware of Kazakhstan’s existence.
  • The movie was released in 2006, starring Sacha Baron Cohen as ‘Borat Sagdiyev’.
  • Borat acted as a reporter sent from Kazakhstan to cover “the greatest country”: the US.
  • It was banned in Kazakhstan due to its ‘offensive’ portrayal of the nation – portrayed it as sexist, racist, devoid of human rights, and civility.

Drastic Change With Sequel

  • Interestingly, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm or Borat 2 received an opposite reaction in Kazakhstan.
  • The nation has embraced the movie positively. Its recent tourism campaign of the nation had “very nice!” (famous dialogue of Borat) as its slogan.

Following have been cited as reasons for Kazakhstan’s change in attitude:

  • Even though the first part was mainly a satire on the US, the sequel focused completely on the US and actions of Donald Trump and his colleagues.
  • Tourism in the country increased drastically after the first part was released.

I chose Kazakhstan [for Borat] because it was a place that almost nobody in the U.S. knew anything about, which allowed us to create a wild, comedic, fake world. The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat’s version.

Sacha Baron Cohen

“Very Nice” Election
However, the recent “opposition free” election in the country has reminded people of Borat and how Kazakhstan was shown in the movie. Several people have been wondering if the portrayal (at least of its authoritarianism) was not much removed from reality!

Read about elections in other countries:

  • Da Ali G Show is a British satirical television series created by and starring English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. In the series, Baron Cohen plays three unorthodox journalists: faux-streetwise poseur Ali G, Kazakh reporter Borat Sagdiyev, and gay Austrian fashion enthusiast Brüno Gehard. These characters conduct real interviews with unsuspecting people, many of whom are celebrities, high-ranking government officials, and other well-known figures, during which they are asked absurd and ridiculous questions.
  • The Dictator is a 2012 political satire comedy film co-written by and starring Sacha Baron Cohen as his fourth feature film in a leading role. Baron Cohen, in the role of Admiral General Aladeen, the dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya visiting the United States.
  • The name “Kazakh” comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz, “to wander“, reflecting the Kazakhs’ nomadic culture. The term “Cossack” is of the same origin. The Persian suffix -stan means “land” or “place of”, so Kazakhstan can be literally translated as “land of the wanderers”.