Kazakhstan Election Marks Political Modernization 2023

Due to its national resiliency, Kazakhstan successfully rebounded from the tragic events of January 2022, when a group of criminals attempted to bring the country to its knees. To improve the foundations of government via political and socioeconomic reforms, President Tokayev enacted various constitutional revisions in June 2022, following a countrywide vote. In Kazakhstan, these changes and reforms have brought in new democratic concepts, such as a more powerful parliament, limited presidential powers, streamlined procedures for establishing new political parties, and direct elections of akims (mayors), among other required steps.

The future milestone in this political reformation process will occur on March 19, when local and parliamentary elections will take place. 281 candidates from party lists and 435 candidates from single-mandate districts will vie for seats in the Mazhilis (lower house of parliament). Approximately 12 million eligible voters can participate in the election. Observers on the national and international level will attentively monitor the electoral process.

Throughout the country, a traditional political and democratic culture is taking root. During the pre-election television discussions, the manifestos of all seven political parties competing in the 2018 elections were unveiled.

The purpose of the People’s Party of Kazakhstan is to create a society in which power and money belong to the people. The party pledges to increase the minimum wage to 140,000 tenge ($311) from 70,000 tenge ($155) and to reduce mortgage rates to 3 percent.

The goal of the Amanat party is to eradicate injustice, oligopoly, and corruption. Also, the party is resolved to employ an additional 1.5 million young people.

The Respublica party is committed to equalizing education and learning environments across rural and urban areas. In addition, the party intends to develop rural medium-sized enterprises.

The Auyl People’s Democratic Party’s platform reflects its rural origins. The party seeks to elevate the status of common rural laborers. It also seeks to enact a food security law and a tax exemption for the country’s 280 thousand family farms.

The Baytaq Green Party seeks to solve environmental and health protection problems. Moreover, the party thinks that companies should not interfere in politics.

The Nationwide Social-Democratic Party advocates for free healthcare, education, and housing, as well as a rise in pension, salaries, and social benefits.

The Aq Jol Party is committed to economic liberalization, business assistance, and less government intervention.

Self-nomination is an option in addition to nomination by political parties. This affords public leaders around the nation the ability to engage in regional and national political decision-making. This helps to an increase in civil society engagement under conditions conducive to its growth.

The relevance of the “against all” option on the ballots should also be noted. The proportion of voters who select this choice would show the caliber of candidates, party platforms, and the electoral process. This option must become a permanent component of the election process in the future, since it offers the authorities with valuable guidance.

The 30% quota for women, youth, and people with special needs on party lists for the allocation of mandates is an additional significant measure. It increases the representation of all groupings in Kazakhstan’s parliament.

Seven political parties, including two new ones, will contribute to the consolidation of a multi-party system by enhancing plurality and oppositional power. Lowering the bar for parties to enter parliament from seven to five percent would also make it simpler for opposition parties to play a larger role in enhancing government accountability.

As a result of last year’s constitutional revisions, the 2018 election will utilize a hybrid proportional-majoritarian model. 70% (69) of members will be elected proportionally from party lists, while 30% (29) will be elected by majority rule in single-member districts.

Similarly, under a mixed electoral system, elections to the maslikhats (local representative bodies) of districts and cities of national importance will be held with a 50/50 split. Under majoritarian rule, only maslikhats of lower rank will be elected. This new paradigm for the development of the Mazhilis and maslikhats will defend the national and regional interests of voters and ensure a diversity of perspectives.

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