Kazakh Central Election Commission Encourages Kazakh Citizens to Go Vote

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) released a statement encouraging Kazakh citizens to go vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for Jan. 10 next year, the Kazinform news agency reported. 

Majilis building in Nur-Sultan. Photo credit: Majilis press service

“If you are a citizen of Kazakhstan who has reached the age of 18 on the day of voting and has a right to vote, you have the right to elect deputies to the Majilis and maslikhats (local representative bodies) of Kazakhstan. The guarantee of the exercise of the constitutional right to participate in elections is your presence on the list of voters. The list of voters is compiled by local executive bodies,” said the CEC in a statement.

Citizens are added to a voters’ list based on their registration at the place of residence in a particular polling station.

“Every voter has the right to register as a voter with the relevant local executive body as soon as an election is declared. If you realize no later than Dec. 10, 2020, that you will not be able to arrive at the polling station on the election day, you have the right to apply in writing to the akimat (local executive body) that your place of residence to be included in the relevant voter list,” said the commission.

Starting Dec. 26, citizens will be able to check the list of voters at their polling station.

As Kazakh parties proceed with their meetings to determine the election programs and submit party lists, the country’s activists are preparing to ensure the elections will be fair and transparent. 

A group of Kazakh activists led by Zhanna Akhmetova, an activist for the protection of children’s rights, recently created a movement rallying under the #tazasailau (#transparentelections) hashtag. The group currently compiles a list of volunteer observers and plans to train 3,500 to 4,000 observers. 

“A new generation of Kazakhs, who are now 20 years old, will come to the polling station, so we want to educate a new generation of politicians who will professionally observe the elections. We have like-minded people in 20 cities across Kazakhstan. Political scientists will train observers at the online school. We want to prove to the world that we can hold fair elections. The day when there will be presidential elections is not far away and by then observers will work as professionals,” said Kazakh journalist and activist Bigeldy Gabdullin at a press briefing, as quoted by informburo.kz. He said the Kazakh officials are also interested in ensuring the elections are fair and transparent. 

Political expert and journalist Eduard Poletayev said the upcoming elections are different from the previous elections. 

“They (elections) are causing unprecedented social and political activity. All parties will participate in the elections. The elections will be held simultaneously for the Majilis and maslikhats. This is also not quite usual. In addition, for the first time, maslikhats will be elected from party lists. There are also quotas for women and young people (30 percent) to be included in the party list. The coronavirus will also affect the election campaign,” said Poletayev as quoted by informburo.kz.

The elections to the Majilis, the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament, were declared Oct. 21 by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Majlis, which consists of 107 deputies, are elected for a five-year term. Nine deputies are elected by the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, an advisory body under the President of Kazakhstan whose members are drawn from organizations representing all major ethnic communities living in Kazakhstan.

The previous elections were held in March if 2016. Six political parties participated in the elections and three of them included Nur Otan (82.2 percent), the Ak Zhol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (7.18 percent), and the National Party, which is the former Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (7.14 percent), received more than 7 percent of the votes and won the right to send their deputies to the chamber.

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