Ak Zhol Democratic Party

The Ak Zhol Democratic Party (Kazakh: Ақ жол Демократиялық Партиясы, romanized: Aq Jol Demokratialyq Partiasy), commonly referred to simply as Ak Zhol (Kazakh: Ақ жол, romanized: Aq Jol, lit.'Bright Path'), is a liberal political party in Kazakhstan.

Ak Zhol Democratic Party

Ақ жол Демократиялық Партиясы
Aq Jol Demokratialyq Partiasy
ChairmanAzat Peruashev
Founded29 January 2002; 19 years ago (2002-01-29)
Registered3 April 2002
Split fromDemocratic Choice of Kazakhstan
Political positionCentre-right
Seats in Mazhilis
12 / 107
39 / 515
223 / 3,229


Ak Zhol was founded in 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 Jandosov, Bulat Abilov and Alikhan Baimenov. Former Information Minister Altynbek Sarsenbaev later joined the party in 2003.[1]

Ak Zhol nominated Dania Espaeva as its candidate for the 2019 presidential election. It was the first time ever a woman ran for President in the country.[2] Espayeva received 5.05 percent (465,714) of votes.[3] Espaeva'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.[4]

Electoral performanceEdit

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.

Electoral historyEdit

Presidential electionsEdit

Election Party candidate Votes % Result
2005 Alikhan Baimenov 108,730 1.61% Lost  N
2019 Dania Espaeva 465,714 5.05% Lost  N

Mazhilis electionsEdit

Election Party Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
2004 Alikhan Baimenov 572,672 12.00%
1 / 77
  1   4th Opposition
2007 183,346 3.10%
0 / 98
  1   3rd Extra-parliamentary
2012 Azat Peruashev 518,405 7.47%
8 / 98
  8   2nd Opposition
2016 540,406 7.18%
7 / 98
  1   2nd Opposition
2021 792,828 10.95%
12 / 98
  5   2nd Opposition

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Cengiz Surucu, 4 Aralık 2005 Kazakistan Başkanlık Seçimleri Üzerine Gözlemler, OAKA, vol: 1, No: 1, 2006, pp. 153-158.
  2. ^ "Kazakhstan could see first female presidential candidate as Ak Zhol party nominates Daniya Yespayeva". astanatimes.com.
  3. ^ "Kassym-Jomart Tokayev elected Kazakhstan's president with 70.96 percent of the vote". astanatimes.com.
  4. ^ "OSCE expert hails practice of women's participation in Kazakhstan presidential election". kazinform.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Kazakhstan Elections 2005, http://www.kazelection2005.org Archived 2007-10-31 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit