The competition in the 2023 elections for the Mazhilis and maslikhats will alter the entire political system – Mazhilis Deputy Irina Smirnova

February 22, 2023

In 2023, elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats of all levels will be held in Kazakhstan. Irina Smirnova, a prominent public and political figure and member of the Mazhilis, shared her views on the significance of the upcoming elections and how they will revitalize political life in Kazakhstan during an interview to the news agency's journalist Zifa Khabirova.
We asked the speaker several questions that are relevant in light of the upcoming political events.

— Irina Vladimirovna, recently the President of the country, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, announced that next year, elections to the Mazhilis and Maslikhats of all levels will be held in Kazakhstan. How do you think these political events will affect the reset and renewal of all major political institutions?

— The competition in the elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats of all levels in 2023 will change the degree of the entire political system. According to my understanding, the new election format is expected to bring significant changes to the political life of the country. I believe that the real competition that we will witness for the majority seats will significantly transform the entire political system.

There is already talk about how many people want to participate in these upcoming elections. And those who are elected and are independent will be able to resist anything they believe does not align with the instructions of their constituents. In addition, deputies will now be can be recalled. Therefore, it will no longer be possible to simply "hole up".

It will be necessary to take an active position. This, in turn, will encourage political parties to be active. Then, most likely, they will organize blocks that share the opinion of other independent deputies. In a word, the elections to the mazhilis and maslikhats will give a new impetus to the creation of healthy political competition among party members.

— Earlier, the President of Kazakhstan noted that the procedure for registering political parties has been significantly simplified. Do you think this step will give a new impetus to the creation of healthy political competition among party members?
— I really hope that there will be more parties, or the activity of those that are registered will increase. The participation of all parties will also affect the activity and openness of each other and then subsequently on the principled position when working in parliament.

— Today, local self-government represented by maslikhats of different levels makes it possible to solve urgent issues of local importance. What is the role of maslikhats in the development of regions today? Do they manage to assist in solving important problems for the regions? What is necessary to improve the efficiency of maslikhats?
The role and capabilities of maslikhats in Kazakhstan are very important with their independence. With the current approaches, their independence will increase. At the same time, it is worth noting that the maslikhats have "grown together" with the akimats, their conciliatory position has led to the need to create public councils. I believe that it is necessary to stop the practice of receiving large public purchases by members of the maslikhat of the region from which the entrepreneur became a deputy. Since this is what attracts many to go to maslikhats and explains their agreement with the proposal of akimats.

— Given the mentioned role of maslikhats in the public life of the country, we would like to ask the following: what are the primary expectations of the Kazakhstan residents from the newly elected members of both the Mazhilis and maslikhats at all levels?
— It is expected that the new members of these bodies will prioritize the interests of the country, society, and every citizen. Citizens are hoping for the effective implementation of the President's proposals, leading to a society that is fair and just for all.

Reference. Irina Smirnova is a member of the Finance and Budget Committee of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan of the VII convocation. Since January 2021, she has been elected a deputy of the Mazhilis on the party list from the People's Party of Kazakhstan party.