Public Figure Views Electoral System Reforms in Kazakhstan as a Historic Reset of Political System

March 3, 2023

Chairman of the Public Council of Astana Zulfukhar Gayipov answered questions from about changes in Kazakhstan's electoral system.

- Zulfuhar Sultanovich, what reforms in the electoral system of the RK would you call the most important?
- Modern history of Kazakhstan can be divided into two periods: before January 2022 and after. The last period will go down in Kazakhstan's history as a complete reset of the country's political system. Big changes were made in the Constitution of the RK in 2022. Besides, innovations were introduced in the Laws "About Elections", "About Political Parties", "About Prosecutor's Office", etc.

If we dwell on the law "On Elections", I would mention the introduction of such changes as a new field "against all" and introduction of 30% quota for women, youth and handicapped persons in party lists. In addition, a lot of election-related amendments were made to the Code of Administrative Offences.

- What do you think the recent reforms in the electoral system are aimed at?
- There are 26 articles in the Code of Administrative Offences for violation of electoral rights. For example, Article 112 of the Code establishes liability for violation of conditions for election campaigning through mass media and online platforms, which are prescribed in Article 27 of the Constitutional Law "On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan". Here I would like to draw attention to the fact that in accordance with the amendments to the Administrative Code introduced on 5 November 2022, under this article, in addition to the media, users of online platforms will be held liable if they publish campaign materials knowingly defaming the honor, dignity and business reputation of a candidate or a political party.

- How do you assess the course of the current elections to the Mazhilis and Maslikhats of all levels?
- In my opinion, the Mazhilis and Maslikhats elections will be held under the conditions of high competition and political activity of our citizens. The early presidential election, which was held in November 2022, showed that in Kazakhstan, over the years of independence, the level of political culture of voters has increased. The country is now actively campaigning. As the head of state said, the upcoming elections can be called the beginning of a new period in the history of parliamentarism in Kazakhstan. These changes will ensure the protection of the interests of various representatives of society, as well as the stability and efficiency of the political system.