Political Party System – An Institutional Foundation for Statehood

NUR-SULTAN – Last week, prior to Kazakhstan’s 30th Independence Anniversary, a historic congress of the Nur Otan party was held. At the congress Nursultan Nazarbayev, the First President and the chair of the ruling party, announced several important initiatives and decisions for the state and the party.  

Kazakhstan’s First President Nursultan Nazarbayev presented the principles of the Seven Pillars of Statehood during the recent session of the Political Council of the Nur Otan party. Photo credit: Elbasy.kz.

Nazarbayev outlined fundamental values of the state and national building in his code of principles “The Seven Pillars of Statehood.” This document accurately describes the path of independence, defines areas of the state development, and provides future generations with focal points and successful strategies proven by time and efforts of the sovereign government of Kazakhstan.

History was made when Nazarbayev transferred the powers of party chair to the head of state Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. It is indeed reasonable, fully articulated, and in keeping with the style of the Kazakh political power transition decision.   

Nazarbayev said that “Kazakhstan is stepping into the fourth decade of its independence, which represents an epoch of big changes, demanding and eventful determinations.” 

Under the given circumstances, Nur Otan as a ruling party has the responsibility for consolidating society around the course of the head of state, who offers continuity, political stability and further development of the state with regard to the Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy. 

The First President highlighted five key principles in the long-term leadership of the Nur Otan party, including ruling by public will, acting in a modern fashion, setting definite objectives and designing tangible methods of achievement, maintaining solid and unified team-work, consolidating society under its own values. 

During the years of independence, in an open and a competitive political struggle, the ruling party has demonstrated its true leadership. An established political party system with a dominant role for the Nur Otan party is the result of the decision of the majority of the population and represents one of the main foundations of statehood. 

The current parties not only represent the will of people in governing processes, but also act as a unifying power in establishing a bridge between the state and society, increasing a political culture by involving the public in the complex mechanism of a state decision-making process.    

Nowadays, ahead of a new stage of state development, it is important to continue the set path of a multiparty model in our country in order to ensure a bright future for an independent Kazakhstan.  

As commonly known, back in 1998, Nazarbayev, clearly formulated the key principle of party building: “Political parties are the main building blocks of democracy, and we ought to perform everything possible to assert and enhance their place in society.”

The formation of the modern political party system in Kazakhstan can be divided into the following stages.

The first decade of Independence – from 1991 to the beginning of the 2000s – the establishment of the political field, within which the social and political consensus, as well as the main ideological shape and concepts of the country’s development, were established.

The second decade – from early 2000s to 2010 – the strengthening of political parties with a transition from the initial majority to a proportional electoral system in the Mazhilis or Parliament.

The third decade – starting from 2011 – the formation of a multi-party system with a dominant political force.

The first stage. Institutionalization of political parties. 

At the dawn of independence, Nazarbayev was faced with the demanding task of creating key state and political institutions on a democratic basis, capable of ensuring the development of the country in challenging socio-political realities.

Having extensive experience in governing a state and being a far-sighted reformer, Nazarbayev understood that the formation of a stable political system without an active involvement of a civil society is unworkable. The creation of a multi-party system was of paramount importance in this process.

Parties, as political institutions, were supposed to become a channel for articulating the interests of citizens and providing effective feedback. This required the introduction of completely new mechanisms and legal frameworks.

The situation was complicated by the fact that the inexperienced civil society did not have any functioning public institutions independent of the government – parties, trade unions, non-profit organizations. There were also numerous mental barriers, the unwillingness of the majority of the population to take an active part in social activities. All this had to be overcome by convincing citizens of the openness of the state, which was ready for a broad public dialogue.

The 1991 Law “On Public Associations in the Kazakh SSR” launched the process of institutionalization of the parties. More than 300 public organizations were registered, including parties and movements. The Communist Party of Kazakhstan had lost its monopoly on representing the interests of society, thus marking the process of the final “dismantling” of the one-party system.

As a result, the Socialist Party, People’s Congress, Republican Party, Communist Party, People’s Unity Party, People’s Cooperative Party, Kazakhstan’s Revival Party, Rukhaniyat and other socio-political movements were enlisted in the first half of the 90s.

Moreover, the parties and public associations of that period were largely focused on representing the interests of narrow segments of the electorate. The popularity of a particular political party almost always depended on the personality of the leader. The parties worked only in the center, not differing in organization and cohesion.

For the first time, the legal consolidation of a multiparty system was displayed in the Constitutional Law “On Elections,” the Laws “On Public Organizations” and “On Political Parties,” adopted in 1995-1996. A two-round majority system of absolute plurality was established for all categories of candidates (candidates had to gain more than 50 percent of the votes to win).

At this time, parties, as a political institution, were formed under the conditions of a deep economic crisis, growing social tension and a significant polarization of the party-political field.

The difficulties of the initiated economic reforms gave rise to a large number of foreign experts who predicted the immediate collapse of the state. In order to not become a failed state, the country’s leadership, headed by the First President, had to simultaneously solve a wide array of tasks. It was necessary to ensure internal political stability, carry out rapid economic reforms, and establish links with external partners in order to stimulate the inflow of foreign investments.

The response to this challenge was the Kazakhstan-2030 Strategy initiated by the First President, which launched primary reforms in the country. At the same time, the process of state building was meticulously linked to economic growth and the development of the party-political system.

The strategy predetermined the democratization of the country as a key vector of development. Opportunities for public participation in the process of governing the state were expanded, conditions were created for the competition of political platforms and ideas.

Describing the party-political landscape of Kazakhstan in the mid-1990s, Nazarbayev in his book “The Era of Independence” writes “… with all the differences, the overwhelming majority of the new parties declared adherence to the principles of democracy, supporting the state’s course towards strengthening sovereignty.”

Party building was actively facilitated by the development of the electoral system. The 1998 amendments to the Constitution laid the foundation for the proportional electoral system. The role of political parties and their influence on the legislative process increased. From that moment, 10 additional seats in the Majilis began to be distributed among the parties in proportion to the number of votes cast for the party list. A 7 percent barrier was introduced to enter the lower house of Parliament, which revived competition in the political field.

At the same time, the experience of the first years of independence showed that to maintain a high pace of reforms, a significant political force was required, capable of consolidating society. The Republican political party Otan, which was formed in 1999 and gradually won the confidence of the public, became such a force.

A powerful potential for consolidation revealed itself immediately at the first congress. The Otan joined forces with the Party of People’s Unity of Kazakhstan, the Democratic Party of Kazakhstan, the Liberal Movement of Kazakhstan and the movement “For Kazakhstan – 2030.” First President Nazarbayev was elected as the Chairman of the Otan party, who outlined its key ideological and organizational principles: “strong statehood, reform orientation and plurality.”

The first experience of inter-party competition was the participation of 10 political parties in the 1999 parliamentary elections. Political parties were provided with the opportunity to participate in the competition for deputy mandates, including the nomination through electoral lists.

The election results showed that the Otan party received 30,89 percent of the votes, the Communist party received 17,75 percent, the Agrarian party had 12,63 percent and the Civil party gained 11,23 percent. 

Further, in conditions of competition for voters, the trend towards the consolidation of political parties continued. Accordingly, the Otan party also merged with the Party of Justice, the National Farmers Federation, and the “For the future of Kazakhstan” youth movement. 

Thus, in the first decade of the country’s independence, the mechanism of representation of deputies of the Majilis by party lists began to be introduced, which increased the role of parties in the political life of society, indicating a gradual transition from a majority to a mixed electoral system.

The second stage. Qualitative strengthening of the parties and the transition to a proportional electoral system in the Majilis. 

From the beginning of 2000s, new political tasks were introduced to the state agenda. This was a period of vast economic development for Kazakhstan, which required steady political-legal support from the Parliament. 

By implementing Nazarbayev’s principle “economy first, then politics,” GDP was doubled, more than $160 billion of FDI was attracted, and income surplus was directed to the National Fund, enabling Kazakhstan to become one of the top three fastest growing economies in the world in 2000-2010.

At the same time, there was growing awareness within the society of the need to strengthen political stability and unity in order to create systemic conditions for further development. The geopolitical, territorial and demographic characteristics of Kazakhstan demanded a thorough risk management overview on matters of possible parochialism, tribalism, ethnic and interracial tension which might cause social disunion. 

Taking into account these factors, the Law “On the Political Parties” was passed, and amendments were adopted into the Law “On Elections” (2002-2004), which banned the formation of political parties on the basis of ethnic, religious and gender affinity. 

For the first time, election commissions were formed by maslikhats based on the admittance of parties. The practice of broadcasting debates between parties and candidates on television channels was introduced. The minimum threshold for registering a new party of about 50,000 members became a defining condition to improve the effectiveness of political associations.

By July 1, 2002, only seven out of 19 parties were able to comply with the new standards: the Agrarian, Civil and Communist parties, the Ak Zhol Democratic party, the Kazakhstan Patriots Party, the Republican political party Otan, and the Social Democratic Party of Kazakhstan Auyl. 

In less than two years new players joined the political field including Asar, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, the People’s Communist Party of Kazakhstan, the People’s Democratic Party of Kazakhstan, and Rukhaniyat (the successor to the Revival party). 

Thus, 12 parties participated in the 2004 parliamentary elections, four of which merged into electoral blocks: The Agrarian-Industrial Workers Union (AIST), composed of the Agrarian and Civil parties, as well as the People’s Communist Oppositional Union and DVK. 

A trend towards consolidation and strengthening of power continued. The Asar, Agrarian and Civil parties joined Otan in 2006. The same year at the extraordinary congress of the Otan party a decision was made to rename the Republican Political Party Otan into the People’s Democratic Party Nur Otan.

The consolidation of parties under the auspices of Nur Otan demonstrated the readiness of the political establishment to unite for the sake of further progressive transformations of the country laid out on the contours of a multiparty model with a dominant political force based on the experience of the so-called Asian Tiger states, such as Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, etc. 

It is a common fact that these countries achieved success owing to a strong political leader who brought about change in line with a leading party, capable of handling challenging economic and political alterations. 

The 20th century will be remembered for outstanding politicians, whose successful reforms became world-renowned. Thus, the personality of first Federal Chancellor of Germany Konrad Adenauer is tied to the achievements of industrial renewal in the post-war period. First President of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, brought about several political, legal, cultural, economic and social changes, becoming the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. First Prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was able to transform an economically backward state into one of the most prosperous states in the world. U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt executed his “New Deal”, which created structural reforms in the industry, agriculture, finance, energy and labor sectors. 

Similarly, the state building of independent Kazakhstan is inextricably linked with the name of First President Nazarbayev. 

Sir Winston Churchill described such leaders by saying that true statesmen differ from ordinary politicians by the fact that they consider the future generations, while the latter are guided by the outcomes of the next elections.  

Nazarbayev-led state objectives were based on consistent development of key political institutions, which provided the main guarantees of public accord, political stability, important rights, the liberty of Kazakhstanis, the strengthening of state sovereignty, as well as the realization of effective socio-economic and political reforms, which became the foundation for the country’s rapid development.

The emergence of the Nur Otan party created by the First President as a leading political force not only served as a catalyst for the formation of a political party system in Kazakhstan, but also gave a powerful impetus to the country’s future successes.

In 2006, Nazarbayev initiated the creation of a State Commission on the development and concretization of democratic reforms, which ultimately led to the Constitutional reform of 2007 which significantly improved the role and status of political parties. 

As such, a full transition to a proportional electoral system for elections to the Majilis was ensured. Moreover, the Parliament’s duties were expanded, including the formation of the Government by Parliamentary majority. The role of party factions and the collective responsibility of deputies were strengthened. The People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan was empowered to elect nine deputies to the Majilis of Parliament. The ban prohibiting the head of state from leading a political party was lifted. 

As a result, the elections to the Majilis held under this system demonstrated a significant increase in the responsibility of parties and leaders. In order to pass the 7 percent threshold it was no longer enough to only rely on the local support of voters in certain areas, and industrial organizations. As practice has shown, not all parties were able to meet the new, modern requirements of the time. 

As a result, following the 2007 parliamentary elections, the Nur Otan party gained all 98-deputy mandates among the seven parties that took part in the election. According to the Constitutional reform, nine out of 107 seats were distributed by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. The remaining six parties could not pass the 7 percent threshold. 

Shouldering responsibility for the future of the country, and also taking into account the importance of forming the lower house of Parliament on the principles of inclusiveness and representativeness, Nur Otan initiated a legal mechanism for the entry of at least two parties following the election results into the Majilis, despite the 7 percent threshold established by the law. Corresponding amendments to the Laws “On Political Parties” and “On Elections” were adopted in 2009. 

Also, for the first time, on the basis of international experience, an Article was introduced that regulates the procedure for state financing of political parties. The amount of funding was set to be calculated according to the number of votes received as a result of the elections: 3 percent of the minimum wage for each voter’s vote.

To note, today in more than 100 countries with a multi-party system there is legislative consolidation of direct state financing of political parties.

According to international experience, state financing of political parties is a legitimate instrument of supporting party pluralism, which allows parties not to depend on interests of separate groups and their influence. This makes it possible to ensure equal opportunities both for participation in elections and for organizing activities in the inter-electoral period. For example, in Austria the volume of state funding of parties stands at 25 percent, in Germany – up to 30 percent, in Sweden – up to 84 percent, and in Portugal – up to 90 percent of the total party budget.

By those means, the successive reforms of First President Nazarbayev on the institutionalization of political parties ensured the stable development of the state, creating systemic conditions for overcoming internal and external challenges.

The third stage. The formation of the Kazakhstani model of a multiparty system.

By the 20th Anniversary of Independence, the goals of the Kazakhstan-2030 Strategy were achieved ahead of schedule. By all key indicators of socio-economic development, including GDP growth rates, per capita income, as well as the volume of attracted foreign investments, Kazakhstan became one of the recognized leaders among the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The legal confirmation of its borders, vital for a young state, was resolved. The well-coordinated work of state institutions was ensured, and an impetus has been given to the active development of civil society.

Kazakhstan joined all leading international organizations, building trustful relationships with many countries of the world. In 2010, as Chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Kazakhstan hosted the OSCE Summit, the first ever CIS country to do so. 

At the same time, some representatives of the Kazakh opposition and a number of international experts expressed certain criticism regarding the lack of inter-party competition.

In this regard, the holding of early parliamentary elections in 2012 in accordance with the new legislation gave a great impetus to the further development of pluralist socio-political processes.

According to the results of the elections, parliamentary seats were distributed among three  parties: Nur Otan (80,99 percent), Ak Zhol Democratic Party (7,47 percent) and the Communist Party of Kazakhstan (7,19 percent). A multi-party system with a dominant political force at its head had been formed.

The convincing victory of Nur Otan confirmed the effectiveness of the current state policy, allowing Nazarbayev in his 2012 Address to the people of Kazakhstan to put forward a new, ambitious “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy: a new political course for the established state.”

The course towards improving the existing system of checks and balances between the branches of government, the delineation of powers between the center and the regions, as well as the development of local self-government based on decentralization, determined the need to further strengthen the multi-party model as a guarantor of the stability of the entire political system.

Taking into account the designated political course, the parties made significant adjustments to the ideological platforms of their activities.

As such, at the 15th extraordinary Nur Otan Congress, the mission and values ​​were concretized, and a systemic rebranding of the party was carried out for the first time. The Doctrine adopted by voting, later renamed to the Political Platform, stated that Nur Otan is a centrist political party relying on a broad strata of the population on the basis of national unity. According to this strategic document, “the main asset for the party members is the country’s independence, and the main idea is the prosperity of Kazakhstan.”

Nur Otan also increased the efficiency of its interactions with the electorate by redesigning public reception offices of the party, as well as creating electronic services, and launching new party projects with the introduction of a service- and strata-oriented approach.

Serious emphasis was put on youth outreach. In April 2015, after a wide discussion, a new program through 2020 was adopted – “The path towards the success of youth, “Youth of the Motherland.” Jas Otan was formed as a large political youth organization with a strong consolidating power for promoting the interests of the new generation. 

Large-scale plans for the further modernization of the country required decisive systemic measures. Therefore, at the 16th electoral Congress of the party, Nazarbayev, as a candidate for the presidential elections in April 2015, presented his vision of the future development of independent Kazakhstan.

In his electoral program “Modern State for All: Five Institutional Reforms,” the leader of the ruling party identified key priority tasks: increasing the efficiency of the state apparatus, ensuring the rule of law and sustainable economic development, building a nation with a single future, and creating a transparent and accountable state.

Nazarbayev received 97,75 percent of the vote, and a year after Nur Otan cemented the success by gaining 82,15 percent of the votes at parliamentary elections. The 7 percent threshold was also achieved by the Ak Zhol Democratic party and People’s Communist Party of Kazakhstan.  

Thus, a multi-party system took root in the country, creating conditions for the expression of different opinions, interests, as well as the development of political competition and pluralism in the presence of a dominant political force.

Having received a constitutional majority in the elections, Nur Otan under the leadership of Nazarbayev immediately began to implement its election promises. Thus, the 2017 Constitutional Reform and amendments to the Election Law in 2018 strengthened the role of Parliament and increased the responsibility of the government. The parliamentary parties received additional leverage on executive power: the government gave its powers to the newly elected Majilis, and the deputies received the right to raise the issue of dismissing members of the government from office following the results of hearing and discussions of relevant reports.

At the legislative level, a complete transition to a proportional electoral system was implemented. Maslikhat deputies of all levels now also began to be elected by party lists.

The decision to switch to the proportional system was made based on the experience of 30 most developed countries, which, according to the report of the World Economic Forum and the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, are among the so-called full-fledged democracies. Today, in 62 percent of the most developed countries – members of the OECD, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland (23 out of 31), representative bodies are formed within the proportional electoral system.

The systemic transition to elections based on party lists, aimed at institutional strengthening of political parties, made it possible to neutralize a whole range of internal risks: geographic, regional, demographic, tribal, ethno-religious, etc. The personal and joint political responsibility of deputies of all levels, as well as parties in general, for the implementation of election programs and electoral promises increased.

After the completion of the Constitutional reform, which featured a new stage of democratic transformations, on March 19, 2019, the First President of Kazakhstan, accompanied by the interests of the people and the state, made a historic decision to resign from the presidency.

Nazarbayev remained active as Chairman of the Nur Otan party, the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan and the Security Council. As per the Constitution, Tokayev became the acting President, who was widely known both in the international arena and within the country as a statesman and a political figure. The Congress of the Nur Otan Party held in April at the suggestion of its Chairman unanimously supported the nomination of Tokayev’s candidacy for the post of President of the country. 

After an assured victory in the elections in June 2019 with the election program “Wellbeing for All! Continuity. Justice. Progress,” in his inaugural speech as the head of state, Tokayev stated “First of all, I will work on the implementation of the third modernization of Kazakhstan, the fulfillment of the five institutional reforms and other important strategic documents of our state. In other words, I will work on the implementation of the Strategy of Nazarbayev.”

Later, in September of the same year, in his first Address to the people of Kazakhstan, the head of state said: “We will carry out political reforms without getting ahead of ourselves, but thoughtfully. Our principle is that economic reforms are impossible without political modernization.”

Thus, the President initiated the implementation of the Listening State concept based on the principle “Different opinions – One Nation.” In order to establish a permanent and equal dialogue between the authorities and the people, the National Council of Public Trust was created.

Under the framework of the implementation of political reforms, amendments were made to the Constitutional Law “On Elections” and the Law “On Political Parties.” Thus, the barrier for registering parties was halved – from 40,000 to 20,000 people. A 30 percent quota was introduced for women and youth in the party lists of candidates for deputies of the Majilis and the Maslikhat. The institution of parliamentary opposition was legislatively introduced, which expanded the powers of parliamentary minority parties. The legislation on assemblies and processions was liberalized: permission to hold them only requires prior notification. 

Taking into account the growing demand in society for further political modernization, the need to re-adjust the activities of the ruling Nur Otan party itself also became relevant. This was especially important in view of the upcoming elections to the Majilis of Parliament and Maslikhats, which for the first time were to be held entirely according to party lists.

With this in mind, Nazarbayev in August 2019 at the Nur Otan extended Political Council initiated a program that entailed a systemic “reset” dubbed “Trust. Dialogue. Confidence in the future – seven impulses of the party.”

The “reset” allowed Nur Otan to consolidate the core electorate, carry out a large-scale “purge” of ranks, and strengthen the fight against corruption. The responsibility of party members at all levels was increased, the responsibilities of Nur Otan deputies in the factions in the Majilis and maslikhats also increased significantly.

Following the principle “Strong leaders – Strong party,” primaries for the selection of candidates were held for the first time, which enabled Nur Otan to recruit new personnel and substantially update the party lists. It enabled genuine competition of ideas and programs, backed by a wide public interest and active participation of the population. Thus, over 10,000 candidates among which 40 percent were women and 30 percent were youth (younger than 35 years-old) took part in 60,000 meetings and debates, with a reach of 1.5 million voters.

The primaries revolved around the needs of the population, which became the source for 216 election programs of the party at the regional, city and district levels.

Nur Otan has ensured that its work is strata-oriented. Thus, the protection of the legitimate interests of various social groups was bolstered such as veterans, youth, women, people with special needs and others. In the context of the pandemic, Elbasy initiated the action Biz Birgemiz (We are Together). More than 2 million people were covered by direct financial assistance totaling 34 billion tenge (US$77 million) and 320,000 families received targeted financial assistance.

As a result of the “reset,” the ruling party approached the elections with a high level of credibility. Nur Otan adapted to the demands of the time, uniting people during the coronavirus pandemic around a clear ideology and clear guidelines. The electoral strategy of Nur Otan was based on leaders of public opinion and authoritative party members, pre-election programs were developed based on the requests of each social class, as well as a broad, credulous dialogue with voters.

The electoral program prepared under the supervision of the Prime Minister, a member of the party, was publicly discussed among the population. Subsequently, at the Nur Otan electoral Congress, the electoral republican program “Path of Change: A Decent Life for Everyone,” which met all public expectations, was introduced by President Tokayev. Young people’s requests were reflected in the Program “Youth of the Motherland! – 2025” with the consecutive adoption of road maps for development for each district, city, region.

Following the election, the configuration of parliament remained the same: Nur Otan received 76 seats, the Ak Zhol Democratic party – 12 and the People’s party of Kazakhstan – 10.

At the same time, the Maslikhats voted among five parties. Nur Otan acquired more than 2,700 seats, while the other parties (Ak Zhol Democratic Party, People’s Party of Kazakhstan, Adal and Auyl) received 575 seats in total. 

Overall, the 2021 Parliamentary elections held during the year of the 30th anniversary of independence possess a special significance for the further sustainable development of the country.

Firstly, the election results confirm the high level of public support for the state course of President Tokayev, whose main values are independence and national unity, and whose core principle is continuity. 

Secondly, thanks to the reforms of President Tokayev under the framework of “Different opinions – One Nation” the elections were conducted in a new political environment, bringing increased inter-party engagement, an increase of civic activity and the institutional strengthening of parties. 

Thirdly, the elections confirmed the effectiveness of the proportional electoral system introduced for the first time at the country level, allowing all participant parties to enter the Maslikhats. 

Summing up the results of the elections, Nazarbayev noted that “It’s symbolic that the elections took place during the 30th anniversary of independence. We have come a long way during this time. We’ve achieved a lot. Most importantly, a strong foundation has been created to reach new ambitious goals”. 

Immediately after the elections, at the opening of the session of the Parliament of the seventh convocation, President Tokayev presented another package of political reforms to further liberalize the party system and to form a new political culture for responsible citizens’ participation in the life of the state. In particular, legislative amendments were made to reduce the barrier for parties to enter the Majilis to 5 percent, and an option “against all” was introduced to all future ballots.

The direct elections of rural akims, which started on July 25, 2021, at the initiative of the head of state, also gave a systemic impetus to the direct work of parties with the population. Following the competitive election, Nur Otan won in most of the electoral districts. Self-nominated candidates and representatives of five other parties – Ak Zhol Democratic party, People’s party of Kazakhstan, Adal, Auyl and National Social Democratic Party were also elected as akims.

Thus, a transition to the proportional electoral system at all levels has seriously strengthened the institutional significance and role of parties. In a broad context, these elections confirmed the practical implementation of the five institutional reforms initiated by Nazarbayev, aimed at enhancing public participation in the decision-making process, as well as a formation of an accountable state.

As mentioned by President Tokayev, the introduction of direct election of rural akims has become a principal aim of political reform, which reflects the interests of over 40 percent of Kazakh people. And starting from 2024, citizens will get the opportunity to elect district akims as part of a pilot project. 

In his address to the nation, the head of state, summing up the 30 years of Independence, noted: “Thanks to the long-term strategy of the First President, Kazakhstan had achieved compelling results and became known around the globe. In unity and accord we were able to build a new state where our main achievement is consensus. We have strengthened the spirit of the nation by laying a solid foundation for development. We have become an influential member of the world community. Thanks to stability in society, we have taken the path of sustainable progress.”

To sum up, the established multiparty system with a dominant political force of Nur Otan has become a vital achievement of modern Kazakhstan, a political legacy of First President Nazarbayev. 

This model of the party system, as an institutional basis of statehood, fulfils its main purpose – to strengthen socio-political stability and national unity, enable continuity of the state course, as well as perform necessary state and public reforms. 

At the extended Nur Otan Political Council meeting, Nazarbayev said that “the next 30 years will become a new milestone in strengthening statehood. And Nur Otan, as the largest political party of the state, should be at the forefront of this process. Leading such a blessed endeavor is a guarantee of long-term leadership for the ruling party.”  

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