After completing various cabinet reshuffles, President Nazarbayev signed a decree last week to appoint new members to the Central Election Commission (Nur.kz, 30.09.2016). These new appointments are noteworthy, as they were most probably implemented to prepare for an election in the foreseeable future. At the same time, an enlargement of the CEC for the first time in Kazakh history derives, in all probability, from the assumption that the Kazakh elite will need more ‘hands on deck’ to ensure a smooth political transition in the wake of rising concerns of security threats.

The most important appointment to the CEC is that of Berik Imashev (Forbes.kz, 13.09.2016) former Minister of Justice, who has been one of the most trusted figures in Nazarbayev’s inner circle since his appointment as Nazarbayev’s adviser in 1998. His political links to Nazarbayev quickly merged in 2003 when Nazarbayev’s grandson, Nurali Aliyev, married Imashev’s daughter Aida Berikovna just after her eighteenth birthday.