Kazakh presidential election candidates must speak Kazakh, meet physical and mental health requirements

NUR-SULTAN – Candidates for the June 9 presidential election in Kazakhstan must speak Kazakh and be free of a list of 107 mental and physical ailments, according to regulations approved April 19 by the Central Election Commission (CEC) and the Ministry of Healthcare.

Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

The regulations require candidates to write a maximum two-page essay in Kazakh, read Kazakh text provided to them and speak in Kazakh for at least 15 minutes on a topic chosen for them.

A recently established linguistics commission will choose the reading material and speaking topics. The linguistics commission is being headed by Professor Myrzatai Zholdasbekov, head of the Turkology Department at the Gumilyov Eurasian National University. Zholdasbekov chaired the linguistic commission for the 2015 presidential election.

Potential candidates must also undergo physical and psychological examinations by professionals in their jurisdiction, according to the regulations.

A local doctor will direct the candidate to a psychiatrist for examination, which includes a conversation and patient intake.

If the potential candidate is free of all 107 ailments listed on the Central Election Commission’s list, the psychiatrist will draw up a certificate that is jointly approved by the CEC and the Ministry of Healthcare. The committee will issue the medical assessment report within the three continuous days and the report remains valid for the election period.

The process does not include mandatory testing for alcohol or drug use.

If the candidate fails the examination, the psychiatrist submits him to the medical advisory committee at the National Mental Health Centre.

“The list consists of 107 diseases, including mental disorders that are accompanied by impaired intelligence or memory or social danger to the wider public,” said Kazakh Vice-Minister of Healthcare Lyazzat Aktayeva when the regulations were announced.