Kazakhstan President Banking on Election Mandate for Reforms
Touting what he calls deep reforms, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev hoping Sunday vote provides him the mandate for systemic change
[Astana] Kazakhstan is gearing up for elections for the Majilis (lower house of Parliament) and Maslikhats (local legislative body) on March 19. Seven parties, including two newly registered parties, are competing for 69 party list seats in the 98-member parliament.
The remainder of the seats will be filled by the winners of new single-mandate contests that are part of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s shake-up of the legislature.
Officials in Astana say the polls mark the last step for the country’s political reform process promoted by Tokayev.
The president pledged political reforms and change to the political landscape in the central Asia gas-rich country. Such changes included limiting his own power and strengthening parliament after antigovernmental riots a year ago.
The president is touting what he calls deep reforms, hoping the vote provides him the mandate for systemic changes.
He told heads of local administrations on March 13 that elections will provide a “mandate to continue in-depth reforms.”
Several issues are on the agenda, from rising food prices and freedom of expression to the war in Ukraine.
This will be the eighth legislative and local elections since the country’s independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.
About 800 foreign observers are monitoring the elections, from bodies including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Organization of Turkic States, Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic States, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Commonwealth of Independent States.