The Majilis elections will be held in Kazakhstan on Jan. 10, 2021. Five political parties that compete for the seats have already started their election campaigns. In a recent story, we presented the key features of this year’s campaigns and observed the major markers of change in the political culture of the population.
In this story we spoke about the programs of the parties and what priorities they identified in their programs.
The Nur Otan party’s program “The Path of Changes: A Decent Life for Everyone” highlights the need to improve the average citizen’s quality of life, promote social justice, and an accountable state.
The program focuses on strengthening measures to provide targeted assistance to citizens in challenging situations, increasing spending on education, science, health care, culture, and sports, the funding of which will amount to at least 5 percent of GDP. Development plans for regional medicine, and an increase in medical worker’s salaries have been also outlined.
Among the party’s priorities are ensuring the transparency of the state bodies’ activities and constant control by the public. The party’s program outlines ways to create jobs, and support business development in the country.
As political analysts note, the party’s electoral platform does not contain populist ideas, unrealizable pledges, and is based on calculated goals, backed by financial resources.
People’s Party of Kazakhstan
The People’s Party of Kazakhstan, originally known as the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan, has set ten areas on which it is intending to work in its “People, Land and Justice” election program. Those areas include the availability and quality of education and medicine, the resolution of the housing issue, and social security provision to ensure a more dignified life for the elderly.
Other priorities involve: carrying out a monetary amnesty for individuals and legal entities financed through the banks themselves, fair tax policy, monitoring the effectiveness of the implementation of government decisions, and the impartiality of the judicial system.
The Auyl (Village in Kazakh) national democratic party highlighted the need to improve the living standards in the rural settlements in its election campaign, therefore, the election program included a rural infrastructure development projects, proposal for the development and approval of minimum standards of living for a rural settlement and for a village citizen.
Besides that, the party’s priorities include establishing rights to decent paid work and employment in the Labor Code and other laws related to the social sphere, the expansion of the officially adopted minimum consumer basket, and supplementing the support system for socially vulnerable segments of the population.
The campaign program also includes an initiative to create children’s capital. Party members propose to introduce monthly social benefits for all people under 18.
The election program of the Adal ((Faithful) formerly known as Birlik) party consists of five key areas: a decent life for all citizens, entrepreneurship, agro-industrial complex development and food security, strong regional power, and a ‘state for the people’.
The party’s website states that an important measuring criteria for the work of the government is the ‘good’ social well-being of citizens, which, in turn, is created by stable work, income, satisfaction with social status and overall financial situation.
Ak Zhol party
The Democratic Party Ak Zhol (White Way) in its program advocates strengthening the institutions of parliamentarism and a phased transition from a super-presidential system to a parliamentary republic.
Among the initiatives of the party: the government coalition is formed not by the head of state, but by the party that won the parliamentary elections, the introduction of ‘akims’ (mayors) of cities and other settlements through direct election, the expansion of the control functions of the Parliament, giving it the right to parliamentary investigations. In addition, initiatives involve strengthening the powers of the Parliament in approving and controlling the state budget, conferring upon it the right to allocate funds for the needs of voters notwithstanding the objections of the government.
In conclusion, the current election campaign in Kazakhstan is quite exceptional and lively, which has also been noted by local political scientists, stressing the active and creative campaigning work of political parties in the regions. As such, party representatives conduct meetings, both with communities and with individual voters on a door-to-door basis, and communicate directly with citizens.
Among the factors influencing the growth of citizen’s increased attention to the current election campaign are the growing influence of social networks, the info-communication revolution, which is also associated with the increasing level of citizen participation.
In general, all these factors impact the qualitative change in the political field of the country, as well as the formation of a more matured political culture in Kazakhstan.
The author is Aiman Zhussupova, an expert of the Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP) under the Nursultan Nazarbayev Foundation.