Kazakhstan Government and Politics
State and politics
Reference: Kazakhstan Flag Meaning
According to AllCityCodes.com, Kazakhstan was given a new constitution in 2005, following a referendum, which provides for a parliament with two chambers. The Constitution gives the President a strong position. In addition, the country’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has skillfully balanced between various economic, ethnic and regional interest groups. Of the 107 members of the lower house Majilis, nine are indirectly appointed by the president, which has been strongly criticized by the OSCE. In 1998, the president’s term of office was extended to seven years. Nazarbayev was re-elected as President in 1999, 2005 and 2011. In the 2007 and 2012 parliamentary elections, President Nur Otan received(‘The Country of Light’) 88 percent and 81 percent of the votes respectively. Both the presidential and parliamentary elections have been criticized by the OSCE. In March 2019, Nazarbayev resigned as president but retained power in the party and the National Security Council. He was succeeded in the presidential post by Senate President Kasym-Zyomart Tokayev, who was previously prime minister and foreign minister and who won in the June 2019 elections.
Kazakhstan is one of the founders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and is also included in the CIS Collective Security Agreement (May 1992) and the Customs Cooperation EurAsEc (October 2000). Kazakhstan has been a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace since 1994. Since its inception in 1996, Kazakhstan belongs to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of KGF and its meanings of Kazakhstan.
Despite the country’s newfound independence, Kazakhstan continues to make use of laws from the Soviet era in the absence of other alternatives. Radical legal reforms in the market economy direction are partly being implemented. The death penalty was abolished in 2007 for serious crimes committed during peacetime but can still be sentenced under war or warlike conditions.
Kazakhstan’s legislation prohibits torture but is not complied with. Torture and other degrading treatment are common in the country’s detention centers and prisons. There is also impunity for suspected offenders who are usually police officers. The Constitution specifies a number of rights for the nation’s citizens, such as freedom of speech and assembly.
The independence of what was then the Soviet Union in 1991 meant that Kazakhs generally gained religious freedom. Since then, the conditions for independent media have deteriorated, while the authorities have restricted both freedom of expression and assembly and religious freedom for the nation’s citizens. The right to vote in free and fair elections has also been opposed by the country’s authorities.
In 2014, new legislative proposals regarding labor law and criminal law were presented with the aim of further limiting freedom of expression. In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2015, the country is far down on the list, ranking 160 out of 180 controlled states. This should be seen in light of the fact that the country ten years earlier had seat 119.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, the ‘leader of the nation’
Controversial figure – dictator to his detractors, architect and guarantor of the socio-economic development of Kazakhstan for his supporters – the 76-year-old Nazarbayev, former member of the Soviet politburo and president of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Kazakhstan until 1991, was the first elected president to following the achievement of independence, in December of the same year. In 1995, a popular referendum approved with 95% of the votes extended his first mandate, which expired that year, until 2000. Nazarbayev was then re-elected to the presidency in January 1999 and December 2005 – with 80% respectively. and 91% of the votes – in electoral rounds considered by international observers to be neither free nor fair. In May 2007, a never truly independent parliament sanctioned with constitutional provision the non-applicability of the limit of two presidential mandates to Nazarbayev alone (as ‘First President of the Republic’); in June 2010, against the background of criticisms and investigations into government corruption even by the president himself, the parliament guaranteed him civil and criminal immunity for life, also recognizing him the title of ‘leader of the nation’. A new attempt, supported by the legislative power, to extend the presidential mandate by referendum until 2020 was rejected as unconstitutional both by the Constitutional Court and by Nazarbayev himself. Instead, the latter called – in January 2011 and then again in April 2015 – early elections, aware of the broad popular support and strong restrictions on the registration of candidates imposed by the electoral commission. The last round of elections, in April 2015, confirmed Nazarbayev’s hold on the electorate, which gave him the fifth presidential term with 97.7% of the votes.