NUR SULTAN, 25 September — President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced early presidential elections for Nov. 20, 2022, kicking off yet another politically important season for the nation, as the date for holding early presidential, parliamentary and local executive elections, the seventh since the country’s independence in 1991, the Central Election Commission approved the calendar plan for the presidential elections, during a Sept. 22 CEC meeting
President Tokayev called on citizens to engage in political life and show responsibility, adherence to the principles of democracy, law and order, cohesion, and unity.
President Tokayev pledged to ensure the compliance and integrity of the electoral campaign with the law, justice, and broad participation of domestic and international observers, and proposed extending the presidential term from five to seven years without permission for re-election, as he signed the decree approving these amendments to the country’s constitution on September 17.
“The elections will lead to a fundamental reset of the entire political system, which will contribute to the continued focus on solving long-term tasks to ensure sustainable economic growth and improve the well-being and quality of life of citizens, as well as bring about social and economic progress,” Tokayev said.
President Tokayev explained that a new mandate of trust from the people is needed for the successful implementation of basic and comprehensive reforms on the way to the creation of a fair Kazakhstan, and said: “The state will strictly adhere to the principle of a strong president – an effective parliament – an accountable government, and the deputies will be elected from the House of Representatives. and local representative bodies according to the new mixed system, which will include party lists and single-mandate districts, as a rule, was introduced in the constitution stating that the land and its interior belong to the people”.
Already yesterday, “Friday”, the process of submitting candidates for the presidential elections began, while the deadline ends on October 11, while the election campaign continues for 28 days, as Kazakh citizens will go to the polls on November 20 to choose their next president, while the votes and results will be counted. The preliminary round will be held from November 21-22, while the results and registration of the president-elect will be announced by November 27.
To run for office, the candidate must have Kazakh citizenship by birth, have lived in Kazakhstan for 15 years, have a higher education, be at least 40 years old, and have at least five years of experience working in the public service or Elected positions, as well as fluency in the Kazakh language. The candidate who wins the November 20 elections will have a longer term of seven years after the recent constitutional reform that changed the presidential term from five to seven years and banned re-election.
For his part, Central Election Commission Chairman Nurlan Abdrov said in a meeting of the Central Election Commission that international observers will be invited to Kazakhstan and representatives of foreign media to fulfill international obligations to ensure openness and transparency during the presidential election campaign.
Kazakhstan’s State Counselor Erlan Karin stated:” President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s decree to hold a presidential election on Nov. 20 has launched a new electoral cycle and is in line with the logic of the country’s political transformations over the past three years.
“The constitutional reform secured a new, more balanced order of interaction between the branches of government. It is necessary to restart the entire political system, including key institutions of the state such as the President, Parliament, Government, and maslikhats (local representative bodies) to launch a new model,” he added.
“Tokayev announced the presidential elections almost a month before the signing of the corresponding decree. Previously, all early elections were announced on the day the decree was signed. This time was sufficient for a broad public discussion of the impending campaign and early candidate preparation. By law, elections must be held within two months from their appointment, however, the full campaign will last three months,” Karin wrote.
Gulmira Tukanova, a senior researcher at the Kazakh Institute for Strategic Studies, said that the upcoming elections not only reflect a consistent implementation of political reforms but also “an opportunity to unite Kazakh society and renew the credibility of powerful institutions in these difficult historical times.”
She explained that the complex geopolitical situation increases public demand for a clear strategic vision for the development of our country, where elections are of special importance, and elections will unite the people of Kazakhstan and our civil society around the idea of democratic transition, and that for every adult in Kazakhstan, elections are the right to participate in politics as well as an opportunity to demonstrate Active civilian position.
Meanwhile, political expert Daniyar Ashimbayev noted Tokayev’s strong political position, citing his broad international program in recent weeks as one of the factors. Rather, the winner at the local level, Tokayev has no serious competitor.
Timur Umarov, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, sees Tokayev’s commitment to democratization as more than just talk. His constitutional amendments bear little resemblance to those recently passed in Russia and Belarus and discussed in Uzbekistan. Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty, banned relatives of the President close from entering politics or holding high positions in state corporations or regional administrations repealed the 2000 law granting legal immunity to Nazarbayev and his family. The constitutional amendments also provided for the removal of the president every seven years.