‘Resetting’ Kazakhstan’s political system
Concluding an electoral cycle (first a referendum, then a presidential election, and afterward parliamentary elections), Kazakhstan is passing to the stage of mature and stable statehood.
In 13 months since January 2022, Kazakhstan’s political system has gone through three electoral campaigns: a referendum, the presidential election, and the renewal of the upper house of Parliament. The fourth campaign – the early elections to the lower chamber of the Parliament and regional maslikhats on March 19 has to become the final stage of forming a principally new historical context for Kazakhstan with a more developed political system and pluralism of opinions.
Extraordinary elections at all levels are necessary for Kazakhstan in order to attract new faces and fresh ideas to politics, diversify the composition of key state institutions and make it more inclusive and representative.
In general, the electoral cycle is expected to be ‘hot’. Already now new party-political forces expressing various public interests are coming to the forefront. The President’s exit from the ruling party created a new precedent by which the administrative resource of power in this area will be exhausted and the party and political field of the country will become really competitive, and the Parliament’s activity will become lively and more effective and competitive. We will see parliamentary democracy in action.
Along with this, the procedure of registration of political parties has been seriously simplified: the minimum number of the initiative groups of citizens for the organization of a political party has been reduced from 1000 to 700; the term of constituent congresses of parties has been increased from 2 to 3 months; the registration threshold has been reduced from 20 to 5 thousand party members; the minimum number of regional representative offices has been decreased from 600 to 200 people; and the term of forming branches of parties has been increased from 6 months to 1 year. These innovations have had the most significant impact on the forthcoming elections of the Majilis and Maslikhats.
Undoubtedly, the inclusiveness of the electoral process will increase at the expense of the participation of youth, women, and persons with special needs. Thus, a 30 percent quota for the above-mentioned categories of people in the distribution of parliamentary mandates is enshrined in the law. This is an excellent opportunity to increase the representation of women, youth, and people with special needs, who will be able to bring to the national level important social problems of special groups of the population.
Thus, the early elections to Majilis of the Parliament and Maslikhats are a logical continuation of constitutional reforms that were supported by the people in the national referendum last year. In fact, a ‘reset’ of the entire system of public administration will be carried out.