Tokayev announces reforms in Kazakhstan to have a “strong parliament”

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Nursultan (Kazakhstan), 16 Mar Kazakh President Kasim-Yomart Tokayev, who managed to hold office during the violent riots in January that resulted in 240 deaths and linked to an attempted coup d'état, announced on Wednesday a series of political reforms aimed at democratizing Kazakh society. His main announcement was the transition from a super-presidential republic to a presidential republic with a strong parliament. “We need verified measures on the restructuring of Kazakhstan's political development model. Above all, we are talking about a definitive transition from a super-presidential form of government to a presidential republic with a strong parliament,” Tokayev said in a speech to a joint session of the parliamentary chambers. “Today we have the president at the center of everything: this is not right. We must gradually abandon this practice,” said the head of state. However, he stressed that “at the initial stage of the country's development, the form of superpresidential government was justified.” Tokayev suggested the abolition of a number of presidential powers. In particular, to revoke or suspend the actions of the “akims” (mayors) of “oblast” (cities of national importance), as well as to remove district and even village “akims”. The current system, in his view, reduced the independence of local executive bodies. He also proposed the introduction of a law prohibiting immediate relatives of the president from holding positions as political officials and leaders of the quasi-public sector. Tokayev said he intends to end the concentration of power in the hands of one person, so he would resign from the presidency of the ruling party, AMANAT, (formerly known as Nur Otan). He assured that he considered the “merger of state and political activities” and, therefore, “political domination” to be erroneous. He also proposed the introduction of a provision requiring the presidents and members of the CEC, the Counting Commission and the Constitutional Council, to leave the AMANAT party. Nor will the regional “akims” lead the party sections. “The history of democracy is first and foremost a story of improving electoral procedures. It is also a record of monitoring compliance with electoral laws,” Tokayev stressed. Among its initiatives to improve the electoral process is to allow parties to campaign on social media. In addition, in view of the global increase in hybrid threats, he proposed adopting legislative measures to prevent the interference of foreigners in the country's elections. Tokayev was also willing to support the renaming of the city Kapshagai (in southern Kazakhstan) to that of Kunayev (in honor of the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, Dinmukhamed Kunayev). Tokayev said in connection with the events of January that the investigation into these events “continues at an intense pace, in a regime of secrecy. I assure you that all those responsible for these tragic events will be punished, whatever positions and positions they occupy in society.” “Among those who attempted the coup d'état were prominent people. Senior officials betrayed the State,” Tokayev insisted. Taking power by force was the ultimate goal of the mass unrest in Kazakhstan in early January, in which 240 people were killed, including civilians and children, said last Monday, the Attorney General of this Central Asian republic, Berik Asilov. CHIEF kk/jam/jac