November 25. Information Center - MEPs have welcomed attempts by Kazakhstan to ensure that more women are
elected in its upcoming parliament elections, EU Reporter reports.
comes just ahead of the next elections, which have been set forJanuary
10, 2021. This
will elect members to the lower house of the country’s parliament, known as the
Majlis. It will be the
energy-rich Central Asian country’s first parliamentary elections since
Kassym-Jomart Toqaev in 2019 succeeded Nursultan Nazarbaev, who resigned that
year after nearly three decades in power, writes Colin Stevens.
departure from custom, the date falls at the end of the legislature’s five-year
Tokayev says the electoral and political process has been liberalized to allow
for more involvement from civil society.He refers specifically to what was
dubbed the parliamentary opposition bill – a piece of legislation that he
approved in June. Under this change to the law, non-ruling parties are supposed
to acquire a greater say in setting the legislative agenda.
important in the context of the Mazhilis, the lower house of parliament, where
the governing Nur Otan party won 84 out of the 107 seats up for grabs
in the 2016 election.
said another positive change was the mandatory 30 percent quota on party lists
for women and youths. For the purposes of this requirement, a youth means
anybody under 29-years-old.
for local government bodies, the Maslikhats, are taking place on the same date.
currently six registered political parties in Kazakhstan. Nur Otan, which has
as its figurehead the former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, The other two
forces in parliament are the pro-business Ak-Zhol, which bills itself as the
“constructive opposition,” and the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan, or
poll (in which 7,000 people were questioned) showed 77 percent of respondents
plan to cast their ballot.
parliamentary elections were held in March 2016.
the elections, this website canvassed the opinions of MEPs and others.
Ameriks, vice chairman of the Central Asian delegation in the European
Parliament, told EU Reporter: “During these elections, people of
Kazakhstan will make their choice in electing deputies for the following 5
years. I believe that the nation of Kazakhstan will make the right choice,
while Kazakh leadership will follow the democratic processes in the name of
prosperity and wellbeing of the country and its people.”
“I greatly welcome continuation of ex-President Nazarbayev’s established
direction in the legal reforms and actions taken by the current Kazakh
leadership in developing the country’s democracy, transparency and good
of a mandatory quota of 30% of women and young people on the party lists,
signed by President Tokayev, is of great importance for the further
development of balanced political life in Kazakhstan and for keeping the
politics in line with the world’s practice.
results of the elections are highly important for Kazakhstan, Central Asian
region and for the EU as for a close partner of Kazakhstan, therefore I hope
that people of Kazakhstan will be active and responsible in deciding who will represent
them in the Majilis during the next five years.
“At a time
when the whole world is struggling with a pandemic that has caused great social
turmoil and provoked national governments, it is vital that these elections
provide a real example of mutual trust between the people and the authorities.”
RE member Klemen Groselj, who is parliament’s standing rapporteur on
Kazakhstan, said: “Kazakhstan is already an important partner of the EU in
Central Asia, especially in the energy field, but there are also other
possibilities of cooperation that have not been fully exploited yet.
recent events in the South Caucasus, I believe there is now more than ever a
mutual interest in a further development and strengthening of existing
relations. I see a wide range of concrete opportunities for cooperation in the
near future, for instance in the framework of the Green Deal and
election, he added: “I expect the Kazakh authorities to guarantee the necessary
conditions for a free and fair election process while providing adequate
precautionary measures in light of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Open, safe,
transparent and fair elections can be a solid foundation for the future growth
of our economic and political cooperation with Kazakhstan.”
Viola von Cramon noted: “With decreasing Russian influence and progressively
aggressive China, central Asian republics, including Kazakhstan are signalling
some openness to the EU. It is a positive sign.
had been positive steps were made in guaranteeing the basic right of assembly
and investigating tortures by law enforcement officials. The question is now
how far will the controlled democratization will go.
to the upcoming elections, having a mandatory 30% quota for women and young
people as well as an increased role of opposition in the legislative process is
a welcome change. How will the rankings in the list be distributed and whether
we will see truly critical opposition gaining ground in the lower house of the
Parliament? We will be very closely following these changes.”
Stano, EU spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. told this
website: "The EU welcomes the invitation extended to OSCE Office for
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and members of the European
Parliament to observe the 10 January 2021 Kazakhstan parliamentary elections. In
light of the ongoing reform and modernization processes in Kazakhstan, in
particular the adoption of laws on elections and political parties
(May 2019), the EU expects the elections to be conducted in a free, open and
transparent manner, fully respecting the freedoms of expression and
"The EU welcomes that for the first time a
30 percent quota will be introduced
in party lists for women and youth jointly. The
EU encourages Kazakhstan to avail of the advice and expertise of the OSCE
Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the European
Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and to fully implement
the recommendations made previously and any that may be forthcoming."
Cameron, director of the Brussels-based EU/Asia Centre, said that the elections
“should mark another step forward in Kazakhstan’s steady progress towards
a more open and democratic society”.
European commission official added: “It would be important to allow more
parties to compete than was the case during the last parliamentary elections.”