May 4. Information Center - This is one of the conclusions of a major analysis
of the early stages of the presidency of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, EU Reporter
report authored by political scientist Andrey Chebotarev outlines
social, political and economic reforms already undertaken by the president, all
initiated despite the country also grappling with the ongoing health pandemic.
Chebotarev stresses that the report is an objective
assessment of the political and socio-economic changes taking place in
concludes that the president’s zeal and commitment for reform “fully resonates
with the population.”
was commissioned by the respected Kazakhstan Council on International Relations
KCIR is an
influential foreign policy think tank established in 2017 and the president is
its honorary chairman.
Entitled, “Political Reforms in
Kazakhstan: New Course of President Tokayev”, the findings were published in March.
that the change of national leadership in Kazakhstan in March 2019 marked the
end of the “first crucial political chapter” – nearly three decades long – of
the nation’s history and was a timely chance to provide a critique of what has
been achieved so far.
first two years of the presidency of Tokayev’s presidency have posed
“serious tests of strength” for him, the government, and for the country, says
the report, with the most far-reaching test being the crisis.
author, a lecturer in political science, argues that the President should,
therefore, be credited with “continuity and consistency" in the
Kazakhstan’s first ever president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, stepped down was
replaced by the then-Speaker of the Senate, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
says, “This change in the leadership opened the way for certain changes. Under
the leadership of President Tokayev, a rather interesting and critical new
stage in its development was reached that combines at once elements of
evolution, fundamental reform, and crisis response.”
says the report, has “quickly mastered the modus operandi” of a president and
has demonstrated the ability to respond promptly to various processes and
events and “make quick but well-thought-out and adequate decisions.”
Tokayev himself has emphasised three key principles – continuity, justice and
progress. He says that the main plank of his reforms are pragmatism and
quality, universality, continuity and gradualism, a strong presidency, an
influential Parliament and accountable government, different opinions and the
protection of the rights of the people.
assesses the new National Council of Public Trust with Chebotarev noting, “The
unique nature of the council lies in the fact that it is a mechanism for
establishing a dialogue between the authorities and society. As its work and
reputation grow, this agency will help the head of state position himself as an
ombudsman for the national interest and those of the entire Kazakh community in
all its diversity, rather than small parties or groups’ interests.”
council, the report adds, “has strengthened the discourse on political
liberalization, encouraged good-faith dialogue between the government and
membership reflects various views, ideas, and positions, social and political
interests and public dialogue initiated by Tokayev and the NCPT “is intended as
a tool for political modernization and the creation of truly democratic
institutions, as well as progressive social and economic reforms.”
pandemic, more than 200 measures are, notes the report, being adopted for the
implementation of political, administrative, and socio-economic reforms.
of political reform, says the report, is strengthening the fight against the
"shadow" economy, with the aim to reduce its level to 15% by 2025.
reform includes the adoption of measures to reduce the debt burden of citizens.
The category includes 629,000 people, including large families, families with
disabled children or those who have lost their sole breadwinner.
economic reform front, Tokayev says that the “creation of a truly diversified,
technological economy is not just a necessity for us, but a scenario where
there is no other alternative. At the same time, the economy must work to
improve the well-being of the people.”
also cites him saying, “We must find a positive answer to the growing public
demand for a fairer distribution of benefits arising from the growth of
has also been improved, says the report, by expanding the role of the Kazakh
Parliament in state decision-making and increasing the government’s
accountability to the Parliament and people.
newly created agencies are accountable to the President, an indicator,
according to the report, of his “sense of personal responsibility for the
country’s overall situation and in certain areas in particular.”
efforts have met with public approval and Tokayev has consistently held the
first position in all major indicators such as credibility, efficiency, and
prospects since assuming power in 2019. Tokayev’s rating increased from 5.4 points
to 5.26 points today.
institutions headed by the President also received a high level of public
trust, it says.
report concludes, “The country is experiencing, under the new leadership a
rather interesting and critical new stage in its development.
Kazakhstan's leadership had to focus heavily on anti-crisis work. At the same
time Tokayev managed to maintain his political course, focused on implementing
new political, administrative, and socio-economic reforms. All the results
achieved so far under extremely challenging conditions form a sound basis for
further progress as the country recovers from the pandemic.”
But it also
warns, “According to the international financial institutions, economic
recovery will be slow and difficult. Full recovery and simultaneous progress in
political, administrative, and socio-economic reforms will take time and continued
effort by all concerned.”
Polish MEP Ryszard
Czarnecki, who chairs the EU-Kazakhstan Friendship group in the European
parliament, welcomes the fact that Tokayev, is paying “special attention” to
reducing inequalities while Axel Goethals, CEO, of the European Institute
for Asian Studies, also told this site, “Kazakhstan under President
Tokayev has also made very positive inroads into increasing general
representation and civil society participation in its democratic process.”