NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev highlighted the importance of the innovative elections for the rural akims (mayors) for political reforms and engagement of all citizens in the decision-making processes in the country to continue. The statement was made during an official government meeting on June 23, reported the Akorda press service.
“This event is a significant milestone in the history of our country and a strategically important task for us. For the first time, our citizens will have the opportunity to directly elect the heads of local executive authorities. We achieved this gradually and systematically,” said Tokayev.
The president announced that the elections for the rural akims will be held for the first time for 729 positions, followed by elections of 46 heads of local authorities. All positions will be filled by the end of the year.
Currently, 40 percent of the total Kazakh population lives in rural areas. The new electoral system is aimed at boosting the political participation of that population, facilitating a transparent decision-making process and fostering more rigorous competition among the political parties.
Given the novelty of the electoral practice, President Tokayev emphasized the need to ensure that all elections are organized effectively according to the requirements of a just society.
Vaccination was specifically brought up as the main point to ensure a safe epidemiological situation.
The initiative for the rural akims elections was first brought up by the president in the September state-of-the-nation address last year. Tokayev signed “On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts on Election Issues of Kazakhstan” into law on May 25.
After the law was passed, Kazakh experts expressed hope that elections of rural akims will have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of rural areas by creating transparent competition among candidates and encouraging the leaders to keep their promises to the public.
Before the amendments, rural akims were appointed by akims of a higher level. The new amendments to the election law include regulating the requirements for rural akim candidates. The candidate must be a Kazakh citizen of at least 25 years old and meet the qualification requirements in accordance with the legislation on civil service.