Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced on May 5 a state-wide referendum on June 5 on the adoption of amendments to the Constitution.
In his televised address to the nation on constitutional reform, Tokayev said amendments to the Constitution are crucial for Kazakhstan. “The constitutional reform will mark a new stage in the development of our country,” he said. “The changes will affect a third of its articles. Therefore, I proposed to bring this issue to a republican referendum, because such large-scale changes should be carried out on the basis of the will of the people,” Tokayev said.
He called on everyone to take an active part in the referendum “for the sake of the future of our country, for the sake of future generations”, adding that “together we will build a New Kazakhstan, a fair Kazakhstan!”
According to Tokayev, the referendum on the draft constitutional amendments will demonstrate the country’s firm commitment to democratic principles, adding that “it will allow every citizen to take a direct part in the historic event that will determine the future of Kazakhstan”.
According to Tokayev, the constitutional reform is aimed at a comprehensive transformation of the entire state model, which includes the final transition from a “super-presidential” form of government to a presidential republic with an influential parliament and an accountable government, which entails limiting the powers of the President.
In addition, the constitutional reform, Tokayev said, will significantly strengthen the representative branch of power, strengthen the system of checks and balances, and increase the independence of maslikhats (local representative bodies).
Furthermore, the introduction of a mixed majority-proportional model for the election of deputies to the Mazhilis and regional maslikhats will make it possible to cover the entire spectrum of views and opinions of voters more fully.
A section of the amendments will also further enhance the protection of human rights, by establishing the Constitutional Court, consolidating the status of the Commissioner for Human Rights at the constitutional level, and fully banning the death penalty, the Kazakh President said.