Parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan are scheduled to be held on January 10, 2021, to elect the members of the Majilis and to renew the composition of the Kazakh Parliament according to the systemic and political reforms that President Tokayev’s administration has introduced since he stepped into the presidential office in June 2019.
These reforms, which include a 30 percent quota for women and youth in the party list, the welcoming of a culture of opinion and opposition, and the formation of a parliamentary opposition institute are expected to result in an efficient and relevant Parliament ready to focus on quality legislative support for social and economic reforms in the country.
The corresponding decree was signed by the head of state Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on October 21. “The serious economic crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic has affected many countries and adversely impacted the entire global economy. At these challenging times, Kazakhstan has to take effective anti-crisis measures, ensuring sustainable economic development, social wellbeing of our citizens, and improving the well-being of the people”, said Tokayev on that ocacasion, encouraging all citizens to take part in the upcoming elections.
The Majilis is the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament consisting of 107 members, who are elected for a five-years term. According to Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission, five political parties will run in the upcoming elections with 312 candidates on the lists – “NurOtan”, “AkZhol”, “People’s Party of Kazakhstan”, “Auyl People’s Democratic Patriotic Party” and “Adal Party” (former “Birlik Political Party”). Currently, the Nur Otan party has a majority of 81 members in the Majilis, the AkZhol and the People’s party have 7 members each.
Nine members are elected by the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, an advisory body under the President of Kazakhstan whose members are drawn from organizations representing all major ethnic communities living in Kazakhstan, according to The Astana Times.
These elections will be different than the previous ones: All parties will participate in the elections. The elections will be held simultaneously for the Majilis and Maslikhats, which is not quite usual. Also, for the first time, Maslikhats will be elected from party lists. There are also quotas for women and youth (30 percent) to be included in the party list. In addition the coronavirus pandemic will also affect the election campaign which has begun on December 10 and will run until January 9.
It is reported that according to the results of the draw, the names of political parties on the paper ballot will be placed in the following order:
People’s party of Kazakhstan – 113 people
“Nur Otan” – 126 people
“Auyl” – 19 people
“AK Zhol” – 38 people
“Adal” – 16 people
It is noteworthy that most recently, on December 20, 2020, delegates of the OSCE Office for democratic institutions and human rights (ODIHR) observer mission visited the Republican headquarters of the observers of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan.
30 years ago, the Federation of trade unions declared its independence from state authorities, employers and political parties, setting the main goal of its activities – to represent and protect the socio-economic, labor rights and interests of trade Union members.
About 7 thousand trade Union members across the country will participate as observers from the Federation of trade unions. Trade Union observers are aimed at ensuring the rights of citizens to freedom of expression during the entire electoral period.
ODIHR observers will assess the parliamentary elections for their compliance with OSCE values and commitments and other international obligations, as well as with the standards of democratic elections.
Kazakh citizens in Romania will be able to vote at the polling station to be opened at the Embassy in Bucharest
In order to create conditions for voting abroad, 66 polling stations will be organized in 51 countries at the representative offices of Kazakhstan in foreign countries.
Their lists include all citizens who live or are on a long-term business trip abroad in the relevant foreign country and have valid passports of citizens of the Republic.
All citizens arriving in foreign countries on private invitations (official, business and tourist trips), when they apply to the precinct election Commission, will be included in the voter lists, if they have a valid passport.
Kazakh citizens in Romania will be able to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections at the polling station which will be opened at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Bucharest.
“For the citizens living overseas, 66 polling stations were created in 51 countries at the representative offices of Kazakhstan abroad. A polling station will be opened at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Romania in compliance with all the current sanitary rules,” the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Romania, Nurbakh Rustemov announced during a recent online briefing.
For the first time in 16 years, parliamentary elections will not be held ahead of schedule. The regular elections were held only in 1999 and 2004, and early elections have been held in Kazakhstan since 2007, as reported by The Astana Times.
The last elections for the Majilis were held in March 2016.
Six political parties participated then in the elections and three of them including the NurOtan (82.2 percent), the AkZhol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (7.18 percent), and the National Party, which is the former Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (7.14 percent), received more than 7 percent of the votes and won the right to send their representatives to the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament
The elections to Maslikhats (representative local authority bodies) will for the first time be held based on party lists, which according to Tokayev will “enable parties to strengthen their position in the country’s political system”.
In August, seventeen members from the ncountry’s 14 regions and cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent were elected to the Senate, the upper chamber of the Kazakh Parliament.