Competition will be tough – political scientist Kaliyev on the elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats

February 22, 2023

Political analyst Talgat Kaliyev recently expressed his views to on how the upcoming March elections for the Mazhilis and Maslikhat will play out. According to Kaliyev, the mixed election system is expected to result in intense debates and political competition for power.

"The upcoming elections will take place in a qualitatively new manner, with the majority principle being reinstated under a mixed system. This will lead to tough competition, which in turn will help restore the institute of public policy." The candidates for deputies will be directly responsible for their campaigning efforts, as they will need to engage with the voters, gather their feedback, and be accountable to them. This will foster the emergence of new, prominent figures in Kazakh politics. As a result, this will lead to more intense discussions within the Parliament, with the presence of more principled deputies who will not be beholden to their factions or party leaders. Instead, they will focus solely on the interests of their constituents, - Kaliyev predicted this outcome.

Regarding self-nominated candidates, the expert believes that they will prioritize their independence over joining a party.

"At the moment, there is nothing preventing parties from nominating their party members as candidates for single-mandate constituencies. These candidates, being members of a party, can still run in the single-mandate constituencies." This is not prohibited by law. A candidate may be a member of any party. According to the political scientist, if a self-nominee wins the election, they will not be accountable to any party. This means that even if the self-nominee is later expelled from the party, they will remain in the Mazhilis as they were elected by direct vote and cannot be recalled.

The election competition will not only be between parties, but also between individual candidates and their personalities. There is a great chance for bright and media personalities to succeed in the elections, according to the political scientist.

The parliamentary majority is currently represented by the Amanat party, which has the most extensive infrastructure and is represented in all regions, so their campaign work is expected to be quite intense. Regardless, the public's attention will be primarily focused on the new parties and their platforms, as well as on how bold, principled, and prominent they will be. First and foremost, Amanat will need to secure their parliamentary majority, but I believe that the party list will undergo significant updates. "The most principled, media-savvy, and outstanding deputies who have managed to make a name for themselves in this term will likely retain their seats, such as Kanat Nurov, Yerlan Sairov, and Aidos Sarym..."

In general, Kaliev predicts interesting elections:
"There will be a quota for young people and women, young single-mandate candidates will be actively nominated. The minimum age to run for Mazhilis is 25, and for maslikhat it is 20. These will be quite interesting elections, they will have intrigue, competition and their own peculiarity."