General

New package to ensure continuation of political reforms in Kazakhstan

The implementation of the new package of political reforms – the third one to date – introduced by Kazakhstan’s government is important in ensuring the steady progress of the republic in the field of human rights protection and development of civil society.

Kazakhstan Embassy in Malaysia said it is also an important stage to strengthen the legislative branch of the government and for further democratisation of the country.

According to the embassy, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had presented the third package of political reforms to the newly elected members during the opening of the Lower House of the Parliament (Majilis) on Jan 15.

“The new initiatives of the President are aimed at further institutional development of the political system of Kazakhstan and enhancing the mechanisms of the protection of human rights,” the embassy said in a statement to Bernama, here.

It said the third package highlighted nine targeted initiatives, namely to reduce the threshold for political parties to gain seats in the Majilis from seven per cent to five per cent, to intensify political competition, and give the opportunity to more parties to increase their chances of getting into Parliament.

It also introduced the “against all” column in the ballots, which will give voters a legitimate tool for expressing an alternative position in all future elections, as well as the elections of districts’ akims (mayors) in future.

“For the first time, the Head of State outlined the prospects for further democratisation of the electoral process at the level of local government, providing for an increase of citizens’ role in governing their regions,” it said.

The embassy added that the new package is also aimed at legally formalising the institution of online petitions, and to adopt an additional law on the Commissioner for Human Rights – the ombudsman.

“The law will streamline the activities of this institution in various areas and sectors. The President emphasised the importance of continuing to improve legislation in the field of human rights protection,” it said, adding that the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights will also be strengthened.

It said the government will also develop and implement the Youth Development Index to evaluate the efficiency of youth policy, to provide measures to stimulate charitable activities, and to further improve public control system.

According to the embassy, Kazakhstan President’s first package of political reforms, which was introduced in Dec 2019, had been implemented in practice.

It included reducing the registration barrier for setting up political parties to 20,000 members and introducing a 30 per cent quota for women and youth on parties’ lists of candidates for elections.

The second package was announced on Sept 1, 2020, where President Tokayev announced a gradual transition to direct elections of rural akims from 2021.

It added that in the second package, special attention was also given to strengthen mechanisms for human rights protection.

“The new initiatives of the Head of State represent a logical continuation and further development of political reforms,” the embassy added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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