What is interesting about the elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats in 2023

February 21, 2023

The election campaign has officially started in Kazakhstan he upcoming elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats at all levels, which are scheduled for March 19, 2023, are expected to be very interesting.
This is what both government officials and political scientists say.
State Councilor Yerlan Karin outlined 10 innovations of the upcoming elections.

  • For the first time since 2004, candidates for the Mazhilis will be elected in single-mandate districts (29 out of 98 deputies);
  • There is an opportunity to be nominated not only by parties and NGOs, but also by self-nomination;
  • Despite the fact that the upcoming elections are considered to be an extraordinary event, they were announced six months in advance;
  • The threshold for passing the elections has been lowered from 7 to 5%;
  • A 30% quota for women, young people and persons with special needs in party lists will also apply to the distribution of mandates;
  • There will be no APK quota in the new composition of the Mazhilis;
  • In another new development for the upcoming elections, the ballots for both the Mazhilis and maslikhats will feature a column for "against all" for the first time.
  • 7 political parties have the right to participate in the elections, two of which are registered after the entry into force of the new provisions of the law on parties;
  • Regional territorial election commissions now work on a professional basis;
  • Voters will vote on five ballots (in cities of republican significance – on four ballots).
  • Every citizen can become a deputy.

Following the successful referendum on constitutional amendments in 2022, every citizen of Kazakhstan now has a real opportunity to become a deputy of the Mazhilis or maslikhat.

Under the previous system, it was necessary to be a member of a political party and be included in the party list in order to have a chance of becoming a deputy in the Mazhilis or maslikhat. However, thanks to the introduction of the norm on deputies in single-mandate constituencies, voters will now have the opportunity to vote directly for specific individuals who will represent their interests in parliament or the maslikhat.

Political scientist Gaziz Abishev analyzed the legislation and briefly told who can run in single-mandate constituencies. Here are the political scientist's comments on excerpts from the legislation.

Paragraph 3 of Article 33 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
Citizens who have been declared incompetent by the court, as well as those held in places of deprivation of liberty by a court verdict, do not have the right to elect and be elected, to participate in a republican referendum.

It appears that having an expunged criminal record, having already served a sentence, and not being currently imprisoned does not limit a person's ability to run for parliament.

Paragraph 4 of Article 51 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a person who is a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan and has been permanently residing in its territory for the last ten years can be a deputy of Parliament. A person who has reached the age of twenty-five may be a deputy of the Mazhilis.

Citizenship by birth is not the only requirement for nomination; naturalized citizens also have the right to be nominated for elections. To be eligible for nomination, a candidate must have resided in Kazakhstan for at least 10 years, those who have been living abroad between 2013 and 2023 may not be eligible. There are no requirements for higher education, language proficiency and work experience. It is enough to reach the age of 25.

Paragraph 1 of Article 87 of the Constitutional Law "On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan"
The right to nominate candidates for deputies of the Mazhilis of the Parliament belongs to:
2) elected by single–mandate territorial electoral districts, - political parties, public associations, as well as their structural subdivisions (branches and representative offices), if the corresponding authority is provided for in the charter, and citizens by self-nomination.

Paragraph 6 of Article 87 of the Constitutional Law "On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan"
Self-nomination of candidates for deputies of the Mazhilis of the Parliament is carried out by citizens by submitting to the relevant district election commission a statement of intent to run as a candidate for deputies of the Mazhilis of the Parliament in this single-mandate territorial electoral district.

Paragraph 5 of Article 88 of the Constitutional Law "On Elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan"
Each candidate for deputies of the Mazhilis of the Parliament in single-mandate territorial electoral districts, before registration and after his/her verification of compliance with the requirements imposed on him/her by the Constitution and this Constitutional Law, shall make an election contribution to the account of the Central Election Commission in fifteen times the minimum wage established by the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
In 2023, the minimum wage is expected to be set at the level of 70 thousand tenge.

15-fold minimum wage will amount to 1050000 tenge = 1.05 million tenge.
The candidate who wins or gains at least 5% of the votes will receive a full refund of their election deposit.

In general, any citizen who has resided in Kazakhstan for the past ten years and has reached the age of 25, after the announcement of parliamentary elections, can go to the district election commission, submit an application, deposit one million tenge, and become a candidate for the Mazhilis deputy from their region.

In light of these changes, those who aspire to become a member of the Mazhilis should begin their preparatory work as soon as possible. The key is to make a decision on which direction to move forward, assemble a team, and then proceed without any problems.

Gaziz Abishev also gave advice to political parties. According to the political scientist, they need :
a) identify the list of influential figures who already have a high chance of winning in specific regions, and prepare them for the elections;
b) organize and carry out robust and fair primaries, making them a preliminary election campaign to prepare for the upcoming elections.

Source: 365info.kz