Kazakhstan held elections to the lower house of Parliament and local representative bodies on March 19. In order to sum up the results of the parliamentary elections, the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan held a regular meeting of the national expert platform «KazISS GPS» on the topic «Results of the parliamentary elections: a new system – new tasks» on March 20, 2023.
During the meeting, popular experts of Kazakhstan shared their opinions on the results of elections and forecasts for the future development of political discourse. The opinions of the participants of the event were united in the fact that the last elections were the first and key step towards a complete reboot of the political system of Kazakhstan.
Speaking about the completion of a whole cycle of political reforms launched by the President back in 2022, the Director of the KazISS Yerkin Tukumov noted that one of the effects of these elections will be the further development and strengthening of the institution of parliamentarism and the party field of Kazakhstan.
As it is known, more than 10 thousand single-mandate candidates took part in the parliamentary elections. Of these, 61.81% are self-nominated, 38.19% are nominated by various political parties and other public associations.
According to Yerkin Tukumov, majoritarian deputies will set the tone in the Majilis, and «proportional» deputies will follow them.
«With the establishment of a mixed system, we can count on the further development of party culture among both the parties that have passed the Majilis and the new parties. Also, the mixed system should help strengthen the connection between voters and people’s deputies. Thanks to these innovations, we observed a fairly lively, interesting election campaign. The struggle took place between the parties, there were three whole series of debates. Debates also took place between individual candidates in the districts. All these materials are available on YouTube as a manual for future candidates and as a subject for political scientists to study. Thus, the reforms and the elections themselves have provided great opportunities, but along with this there is also a great responsibility for those who want to create parties. The parties of our country should have broad enough support, especially in the regions. A long-term business strategy is important. » Summing up his speech, Yerkin Tukumov suggested discussing how the new Majilis will function and what effect we will get from the reforms and elections for the political system as a whole.
Director of the Institute of ethnopolitical studies Talgat Kaliyev expressed hope that now the relationship both within the Parliament and between the Parliament and other institutions of power will change.
«We expect inter-party competition in the Majilis, we also expect a struggle between factional and single-mandate candidates, who have not been in the lower house for almost 20 years. They will bring newness to the work of the legislative body, relations will change both within the Parliament and between the Parliament and other institutions of power, » T.Kaliyev said.
In turn, political scientist Zhanar Tulindinova outlined, that the elections are the culmination point for Kazakhstan.
«This year has been full of electoral events. Maximum conditions were created for parties and self-nominees to participate in the elections. The law on the parliamentary opposition was adopted, the threshold of passage for parties in the Majilis was lowered. As a result, for the first time since 2004, we have received such a diverse multiparty Majilis, » – stressed Zh. Tulindinova.
According to the head of the Center for Electoral Training of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Zhanar Bukanova, the current elections were held with fewer criticism.
«In December 2022, a number of requirements were put forward to the members of the election commission regarding qualifications, degree of education, work experience. During the last elections, the CEC, together with the Electoral Training Center, organized online and offline training for members of territorial election commissions, members of district election commissions and members of polling stations. The focus was not only on professional knowledge, but also on communication skills. One of the results of the training was a high assessment of the work of election commissions. In addition, the OSCE report highly appreciated the level of electoral training during the presidential elections last year. In general, we can say that as a result of this large–scale work, the current elections were held with fewer criticism,” Zh.Bukanova.
Professor of KBTU, PhD doctor of international relations Kairzhan Abdykhalykov thinks that the role of observers has increased in the recent period due to legislative changes.
«A lot depends on them. Therefore, as an NGO, we have organized the training of 1,700 independent observers for the city of Almaty. Their further experience has shown that it is necessary to focus on the training of candidates’ proxies,» the expert shared.
According to political scientist Assol Mirmanova, it is important for society to maintain stability through discussions, pluralism of opinions.
«This will be reflected in the Majilis, in which differences of opinion should be resolved through constructive dialogue. The main vector of political discourse is moving to the lower house, it will become the leading force in Parliament. The main work on the discussion and development of draft laws will take place here, » A.Mirmanova noted.
Alibek Tazhibayev, director of the Analytical Research Center «Eurasian Monitoring», said that we have made serious steps that allow us to call Kazakhstan a country of emerging democracy.
«The recent elections allow us to positively assess the reforms that have been undertaken in the last few years. We hope to see a «toothy» Parliament. After all, the truth is born in a dispute. It is this truth that we will strive for, » A.Tazhibayev voiced his opinion.
Summing up the above, Vice-President of the National Academy of Education named after Y. Altynsarin Nurbek Pusyrmanov noted that the people’s representation was developed within the framework of the last elections due to the implemented reforms.
«The work of maslikhats is being strengthened due to the transfer of a number of powers to the level of local self-government. They also participate in decision–making at the highest level thanks to the election of deputies to the Senate, » – the speaker concluded.