News ID: 279955
Published: 0245 GMT January 26, 2021

President Tokayev sheds light on new political reforms in Kazakhstan

President Tokayev sheds light on new political reforms in Kazakhstan
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (C) presented to the newly elected members of parliament (Mazhilis) a third package of political reforms on 15 January, 2021.

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev presented a third package of political reforms to the newly elected members of parliament (Mazhilis) on January 15.

The new initiatives of the president are aimed at further institutional development of the political system of Kazakhstan and enhancing the mechanisms of the protection of human rights.

Their implementation will facilitate the strengthening of the human rights protection system, expand civic participation, develop parliamentarism and a multiparty system, and further democratize the country.


Third package of political reforms  

President Tokayev proposed the following reforms:

1. Reduce the threshold for political parties to gain seats in the Mazhilis (lower house of parliament) from 7% to 5%

2. After the introduction of elections of rural akims (mayors) starting in 2021, Kazakhstan will then proceed to the election of district akims

3. Introduce the option "against all" in the ballots for all future elections

4. Legally formalize the institution of online petitions

5. Adopt an additional law on the commissioner for human rights – the ombudsman (the law will streamline the activities of this institution in various areas and sectors)

6. Strengthen the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (including the creation of its regional offices)

7. Implementation of the Youth Development Index to evaluate the efficiency of youth policy

8.) Provide measures to stimulate the activities of charities


Previous packages of political reforms

The first package of reforms was presented at the meeting of the National Council of Public Trust on December 20, 2019. They were implemented ahead of the parliamentary elections which took place on January 10, 2021.

The reforms include:

  • The registration barrier for creating political parties was halved
  • A 30 percent quota was introduced for women and youth on electoral party lists
  • The institution of parliamentary opposition was formalized and strengthened
  • The decriminalisation of Article 130 (defamation) and the humanization of Article 174 (inciting social discord) of the Criminal Code were initiated
  • A new law on assemblies was implemented, which made it easier to organize and participate in rallies
  • Kazakhstan joined the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, abolishing the death penalty


The second package of political reforms was put forward by President Tokayev on September 1, 2020 in his address to the people of Kazakhstan. The reforms include:

  • The transition to direct elections of rural akims (mayors) from 2021
  • It was instructed to develop a Concept for the Development of Local Self-Government and the Law "on Public Control”
  • Creation of a single institution for online petitions
  • The need was established to improve legislation to combat torture, human trafficking, and protect citizens (especially children) from cyberbullying
  • Tasked to accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure


The full text of Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s remarks on the country’s third package of political reforms was obtained by Iran Daily from the Kazakh Embassy in Tehran.


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