Eight months after the start of mass protests in Kazakhstan, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced a comprehensive reconfiguration of the political system of the state. On September 1, he delivered a message to the citizens, in which he outlined the basic approaches to the upcoming reset.
Among the main initiatives, one can single out a call for early presidential and parliamentary elections. Here it should be noted that Mr. Tokayev was still somewhat cunning, speaking of his readiness to cut the time of his reign. If the elections are held this fall and before they begin, the announced changes are adopted regarding the extension of the cadence to seven years (at the same time, a restriction is initiated under which a person can be elected to the position of president only once), if he wins, the current leader will will stay in his position for 10 years, as originally planned. Also, in the first half of 2023, it is planned to hold extraordinary elections to the Majilis (lower house of parliament) and maslikhats (local legislative assemblies).
In addition, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev drew attention to the decentralization of the political system . At the moment, it is premature to talk about a systematic and integrated approach, since the corresponding draft changes have not yet been published, but the outlines are already clear. The changes will primarily affect the powers that the Cabinet of Ministers has. At the initiative of the president, they will be redistributed between specific ministries and for the implementation of which, after the reform, the relevant heads of departments will be personally responsible.
The president also announced the new economic course of Kazakhstan. A significant liberalization of the entire sector of the economy is planned, a departure from state capitalism and a decrease in the level of state intervention in the economy are proclaimed. The reform is aimed at stimulating private entrepreneurial initiative and developing competition. A tax reform is also expected with the introduction of a luxury tax, as well as a set of measures designed to stimulate the process of a more equitable distribution of national income. The main Kazakh State National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna is planned to be reformatted into an investment company with state participation, and part of the assets to be privatized. thousand tenge (from 7.6 thousand rubles to almost 9 thousand). In addition, the process of raising the retirement age is frozen until 2028. It is also planned to raise pensions by 27%.
It is also important that the authorities are ready to grant a one-time amnesty to participants in the January riots in Kazakhstan. However, it will not affect the organizers of those events and persons accused of treason and an attempt to overthrow the government by force.
, which has significant support among the population – not as a creature of Nursultan Nazarbayev, but as an independent politician. Through early elections of deputies, the incumbent leader wants to introduce his supporters into the power structures, who are capable of implementing the initiatives of the head of state on the ground and in the parliament of the republic. Moreover, one should not expect a sharp change in the current proportions of parties or the creation of new political forces. Most likely, Tokayev’s supporters will be incorporated into the already existing political forces.
As for the economic bloc, too obvious liberalization is striking, which in the strategic perspective can negatively affect the stability of the state. There are enough examples in the post-Soviet space when states that carried out such reforms according to the patterns of Western concepts ended up destabilizing the economic and political system. On the other hand, the idea is also obvious to form an economic elite loyal to the leader of the country through the process of privatization of state assets. triggered by the events of January 2022.
Discussions are already beginning on how these reforms will affect Kazakhstan. On the one hand, there is the experience of Kyrgyzstan in 2010-2020 with the adoption of a constitution written by the Venice Commission and reforms carried out under the auspices of Western consultants. However, there is also Belarus and its constitutional reform of 2022, which demonstrated the possibility of changes without much shock.
In this situation, it is extremely important for Russia to closely monitor all trends around Kazakhstan and contribute to the stability of bilateral relations with the neighboring state, which remains a strategic partner and an important donor to the security of the entire Eurasian space. , Associate Professor, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation
The position of the editors may not coincide with the opinion of the author