The President delivered a State-of-the-Nation Address to the people of Kazakhstan “New Kazakhstan: Path of Renewal and Modernization” at the joint session of the Houses of Parliament.
The leader of Kazakhstan unveiled a large-scale program of political reforms and a number of socio-economic measures to be implemented in the near future.
At the beginning of his speech, President Tokayev voiced his view on the tragic events of January. In his opinion, the goal of this large-scale and elaborate operation was to oust the nation’s top political leadership and discredit it in the eyes of the people and the foreign public.
The President said the investigation of the conspiracy of law enforcement officers and their accomplices continues at an intensive pace, in secrecy, and all those found guilty of these tragic events will be punished, regardless of their positions and ranks in society.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pointed out the importance of revising the powers of the President with a transition from a super-presidential system to a presidential republic with a strong Parliament. In particular, it was proposed to legislate the commitment of the Head of State to terminate membership in the party for the period of his powers, and to prohibit Akims and their deputies to hold positions in the party branches.
In addition, the leader of Kazakhstan announced the necessity to constitutionally fix a norm concerning the nearest relatives of the Head of State. A legislative ban was proposed on their appointment as top-level civil servants and managers in the quasi-state sector.
Furthermore, political reforms will affect the legislative branch of power. The process of formation and a number of functions of the Senate will be revised. Kazakhstan’s leader proposed reducing the presidential quota in the upper house of the Parliament (the Senate) from 15 to 10 deputies. Moreover, the quota of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan in the Mazhilis will be transferred to the Senate and reduced from 9 to 5 deputies.
The program of political reforms also provides for the improvement of the electoral system, modernization of the electoral process, and expansion of opportunities for development of the party system. The deputies' corps of the Mazhilis will be formed on a mixed scheme - 70% of deputies will be elected on a proportional basis, 30% - on a majoritarian one. Party registration procedures will be considerably simplified. The registration threshold is to be reduced fourfold - from 20,000 to 5,000 people.
President Tokayev also focused on strengthening the role of human rights institutions, increasing the competitiveness of the media and strengthening the role of civil society institutions. In order to ensure that the provisions of the Basic Law are strictly observed, he instructed to create a Constitutional Court. The President also proposed the establishment of a National Kurultai to replace the National Council of Public Trust, which has successfully fulfilled its mission.
Large-scale political reforms will also be made in the administrative-territorial structure of the country. Kazakhstan’s leader proposed the creation of Abai and Ulytau regions, with their regional centers in the cities of Semey and Zhezkazgan, respectively. He also announced his decision to divide the Almaty region into two new ones: the Almaty region centered in Kapshagai and the Zhetysu region centered in Taldykorgan. The Head of State said he was ready to listen to public opinion, if there is a proposal to rename the city of Kapshagai in honor of an outstanding son of the Kazakh people, Dinmukhamed Kunayev.
A separate part of the Address was devoted to the priority of anti-crisis measures with a focus on tackling socio-economic issues, including ensuring the stability of the national currency, increasing the sales of foreign exchange earnings by companies with state participation, and de-bureaucratization of the state apparatus.
Overall, the initiatives announced in President Tokayev’s Address to the Nation are aimed at significant transformation of the political system and administrative-territorial structure of the country. According to him, more than 30 amendments will be made to the Constitution for their implementation.
“Regardless of how people evaluate my work, my most important duty is to protect our country. On this path, I am ready to bear full responsibility!” the Kazakhstan’s leader concluded.