Kazakhstan leader aims for swift presidential election with 7-year term


The president proposes early presidential elections this fall and a quick parliamentary vote early next year.

Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has proposed holding snap presidential elections this fall and reducing the presidency from the current two five-year terms to one seven-year term.

In a speech to parliament on Thursday, Tokayev said he will aim for a second term and also proposed holding early parliamentary elections in the first half of 2023.

“I propose that we hold early presidential elections in the fall of 2022,” said Tokayev, who said measures were needed to “strengthen our state” and “maintain the momentum of reforms” after the Central Asian country collapsed. January had undergone a political crisis leaving 225 dead.

“A new people’s trust mandate is needed for the successful implementation of fundamental and comprehensive reforms towards creating a fair Kazakhstan,” Tokayev said.

Kazakhstan will hold presidential elections in 2024 and parliamentary elections in 2025.

Tokayev said he would bring forward the parliamentary vote after the successful referendum on constitutional amendments in June, which decentralize decision-making and strip former President Nursultan Nazarbayev of his “national leader” status.

As a result of the changes, the country has now set “completely new standards for a political system with fair and open rules,” Tokayev said.

The term of the presidency would be reduced to one seven-year term, he said, from the current two five-year terms.

The January turmoil raged in energy-rich Kazakhstan, one of the most stable Central Asian countries to gain independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Kazakh authorities have detained about 12,000 people for their alleged participation in anti-government protests.

Nazarbayev ruled the country for 29 years after it gained independence. In 2019, he stepped down and chose Tokayev as his successor.

Should he win the vote, the upcoming elections would strengthen Tokayev’s mandate as an independent leader.

In steps that are sure to increase public support, Tokayev announced on Thursday a 17 percent increase in the minimum wage and plans to allocate half of the National Fund’s investment income to personal accounts of people under the age of 18, which they own. can use it to pay tuition fees or to make purchases. houses.

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