Term paper on Comparative politics: Report on Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Libya

State: Government oversight/control

Under the Constitution, the Republic of Kazakhstan is a democratic, constitutional, unitary, secular republic with a presidential-parliamentary form of government. The President is the Head of State and the Commander in Chief. Current President Nazarbayev has been in his office since April 24, 1990, and has been governing Kazakhstan since June 22, 1989 (23rd year as per 2012) (Aitken 205).

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy ruled by sons and grandsons of the first King Abdul-Aziz; King is the head of state. The law is based on Islamic law, and in theory, the king’s power is limited only by rules of Sharia (Aarts and Nonneman 35). Like in Saudi Arabia, the basis of legislation in Libya is Koran. Before the civil war, Libya (Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) was ruled by a military regime that professes the idea of Arab nationalism, socialism and Islam. The highest state authority is the General People’s Congress which consists of representatives of the People’s Committees. Factually, the GPC had the functions of Parliament. Its members were elected at the local and regional levels, some of them were appointed by Gaddafi himself. Though Gaddafi did not hold any official post, he was a leading political figure in Libya (St.John 113-115).

According to Freedom House, Kazakhstan belongs to the category of “not free countries”. Thus, the 2004 rankings were: the rule of law – 1.9; civil liberties – 3.53; transparency and fighting corruption – 1.58. Now, the rankings are revised: freedom rating – 5.5; civil liberties – 5; political rights -6. As it can be seen, everything was revised to the downside (amplification of repression) (“2012 Freedom in the World”). However, the situation in Saudi Arabia is far worse (all three ratings equal to the maximum index 7 (“2012 Freedom in the World”)): any oral or written discussions of the existing political system are forbidden by law. Death penalties in Saudi Arabia are executed, on average, more often than twice a week. Trying to save the image of Saudi Arabia in the international arena, King Abdullah uses the practice of royal pardons in very controversial circumstances (Raphael 35-37). There are no political parties and trade unions in the country.

Libya also refers to the most rightless countries in the world along with Saudi Arabia (freedom 6,5, political rights 7; civil liberties 6) (“2012 Freedom in the World”). However, while the wave of revolution in Libya ended with the collapse of the rule of authoritarian regimes, Saudi Arabia is on the way for further cuts in the rights and freedoms of its citizens.


Economy: Economic dependency, Dynamics, Social standard of living, Export, Import

According to the World Economic Forum 2011-2012, the Global Competitiveness Index of Kazakhstan on is on 72nd place, Saudi Arabia ”“ 17, Libya – 100 (“Report on Global Competitiveness and Performance Index 2011-2012”). The Economic Freedom Index of Kazakhstan is on 65th place (2011), the country has moved from the category of “mostly unfree countries” to “moderately free,” as well as Saudi Arabia, which occupies the 74th place. At the same time, Libya takes 176th position in this rating and refers to countries with non-free economy.

According to research conducted by specialists of British auditing company Ernst & Young and the Oxford Economics Institute, Kazakhstan is also one of the three fastest growing economies of the decade. While in 1999, 39% of the population were below the poverty line (Aitken 99), in accordance with the data of the World Fact Book (CIA), Kazakhstan held the 66th place in 2010 on the List of countries by nominal GDP per capita with the index of $8400, whereas the Earth’s index was $9100 (“Kazakhstan Economy Profile 2012”).

The main source of economic growth in Kazakhstan is the extraction of minerals. Kazakhstan exports the raw materials produced by mining, fuel, steel and chemical industries. In the structure of Kazakhstan’s exports oil and oil products make 35%, non-ferrous metals – 17%, ferrous metals – 16%, ore – 12%, cereals – 9%, others – 11%. The main imported products are machinery and equipment, vehicles, appliances and machines, chemical products, mineral fuel, foodstuffs, manufactured goods and consumer goods (Nathan 321-23).

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