While the whole world is anxiously watching the development of the situation in Ukraine, Kazakhstan has announced the start of major social and political reforms. Speaking with a message to the people at a joint meeting of the parliament, the president of the republic, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said that the form of government in the country should change - the parliament would receive more powers: “We need well-considered steps to reorganize the political model of development of Kazakhstan. First of all, we are talking about the final transition from a super-presidential form of government to a presidential republic with a strong parliament. Such a system will provide an optimal balance of power institutions and will contribute to the sustainable development of the country”.
Tokayev also proposed to legally prohibit the head of state from being a member of any party during the exercise of his powers, noting that this step would increase political competition and provide equal conditions for the development of all parties. Another initiative was a proposal to ban close relatives of the president from holding positions in government and state-owned companies. Tokayev noted that the head of state must guarantee equality of opportunity for all citizens.
In addition, the President proposed establishing a Constitutional Court in Kazakhstan: “The Prosecutor General and the Commissioner for Human Rights should also be given the opportunity to apply to the Constitutional Court. I hope that these initiatives will be an important step towards building a just and legal state”.
How these initiatives of the president were perceived in Kazakhstan itself is evidenced by the publication of the Almaty lawyer Yerzhan Yesimkhanov:
“Briefly about the most important things from today's speech of the president.
1. The procedure for registering political parties has been greatly simplified - the registration threshold has been reduced by 4 times, from 20 thousand people to 5. What will this lead to? There will be many new parties in the near future. Many ambitious people will come to them, including from social networks. They will not be very durable - charismatics will either quarrel or get tired. Ultimately, this set will result in four or five strong parties, as in any European country. Of interest are not those parties that will be created by various charismatics from social networks, but rather those that will be created by associations of professionals - for example, industrialists or farmers. They are the future.
2. The ban on the president and major officials to be members of parties and head their branches. It is high time. And then "Nur Otan" in recent years has become some kind of analogue of the CPSU, membership in which was mandatory for any major official.
3. The prohibition for relatives of the president to hold public office and positions in the quasi-government is also long overdue. Although in the current conditions it sounds more like a declaration - the relatives of the incumbent president do not occupy any prominent positions anyway. But this is a correct declaration, for the future, so to speak.
4. Appointment of akims in agreement with maslikhats. For some reason, various experts loyal to the authorities are trying to present this news as a step towards the election of akims. This is doubtful. It is proposed that the president will nominate two candidates, and the maslikhat will choose who they like best. But maslikhats will not have the right to nominate any candidates on their own, so, in fact, the reform will be the same appointment, only with an additional bow in the form of a choice between two candidates (and the leader, I believe, will be immediately obvious) .
Yes, and it would work if we had toothy independent maslikhats. And our maslikhats are sometimes, of course, busy with very useful things, but in general they are super-loyal. So there are no real changes here yet.
5. Changing the boundaries of the areas in the direction of decreasing. If it helps improve handling, then that's probably not bad. Even in Almaty, akims of some districts, for example, Bostandyk district, do not control the situation on their territory from the word “completely”. One can imagine what was happening in the regions then.
6. Introduction of elements of the majority system in the election of deputies of the Mazhilis. This means that not only representatives from parties on party lists, but also individual citizens will be able to be elected. It's also good. Firstly, the foolish practice, when everyone is shoved into the party list, from athletes to bloggers, will lose its meaning, and then these elected deputies peacefully sleep for the entire term of their powers. Secondly, strong charismatic lone deputies will appear - however, it is likely that at first there will be a certain number of populists among them”.
Russian journalist Pavel Pryanikov enthusiastically responded to the news from the neighboring country:
“So far, the most important news in Northern Eurasia is the reform of the political system in Kazakhstan. Tokayev announced a transition from a super-presidential model of government to a presidential-parliamentary one.
Tokayev said that “the country needs cardinal reforms. Otherwise, stagnation. “Our political system must constantly adapt to new realities. Today, literally everything in our country revolves around the president, and this is fundamentally wrong. We need to move away from this practice".
It was also promised to give more rights to local self-government, courts, and the media.
For post-Soviet countries falling into the New Dark Ages, Tokayev's reforms look like a real revolution. Let's look at the process. Maybe we will have to learn from Kazakhstan in the future”.