This is a Definite Step Towards Democratization - Expert Opinion

March 3, 2023

The upcoming elections to the Mazhilis and Maslikhats of all levels will be unprecedented in the history of independent Kazakhstan. On the initiative of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, candidates will be elected under a mixed system - from single-member districts and party lists.

Early elections to Mazhilis and maslikhats of all levels are scheduled for March 19, 2023. Following the initiative of the head of state, stated in his address on March 16, 2022, they will be held under the proportional-majoritarian system.

- The proportional-majoritarian model will better reflect the interests of voters both at the national and regional levels," said Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The combination of the proportional and majoritarian systems will preserve the role of political parties as one of the key institutions of civil society. At the same time, conditions for a fairer electoral process and effective public administration will be created.

The deputy corps of Mazhilis will be formed according to the following scheme - 70% on proportional and 30% on majoritarian basis. In addition, a mixed model will be introduced in the elections of maslikhats of oblasts and cities of national importance.

At the same time, in districts and cities, where close interaction of deputies with citizens is required, we should switch completely to the majoritarian system. This will create a more competitive political environment at the local level and open additional opportunities for the emergence of new respected politicians.

“In our opinion, in this campaign period the interest of citizens is beginning to increase, especially since the competitiveness of candidates has greatly increased. I think transition to mixed election system is a definite step to further democratization of our society,” Aset Ergasin, lawyer, deputy head of Territorial Electoral Commission, expressed his opinion. “In particular, I can say that single-mandate constituencies which are now fixed for the city districts is a normal phenomenon in view of the fact that soon the akims of districts and cities will also be elected. It is even, one might say, a necessary step for reform.”

As for the mixed system of electing regional maslikhats - 50% by party lists and the same number by single-mandate districts, the expert believes that this measure is justified and worth preserving.

“Now there are new political forces, and they must realize themselves and win their electorate. We can say that in connection with the new reforms the elections will be interesting,” said Aset Ergasin.