ASTANA – On March 19, Kazakhstan will elect members of the Mazhilis, the lower house of Parliament, and maslikhats, local representative bodies. New names will surely appear in the legislative branch, while up to 50 percent of the country’s local representative offices are expected to have new members.
Thirty-nine percent of the self-nominated candidates are women and young people.
The vote will be held according to the new rules adopted following last year’s constitutional amendments.
The Mazhilis will consist of 98 members instead of 107 as was the case previously. Sixty-nine will be elected from party lists and 29 from single-mandate districts represented by a single officeholder. At the regional level, 50 percent of the maslikhats will be formed by party lists and 50 percent through single-mandate districts. At the smaller district level, the maslikhats will be fully formed from self-nominated candidates. Prior to this, voters could only vote by party lists.
The nomination of candidates began on Jan. 20 and ended on Feb. 8. Registration of candidates was finalized on Feb. 18, with the election campaign beginning on the same day.
Ballot papers in five colors will be provided to voters on election day to reflect the various option for voting, said Central Election Commission (CEC) member Sabila Mustafina at a Feb. 27 CEC meeting in Astana.
Election to the Mazhilis
To run for a seat in the Mazhilis within a single-mandate district, a person has to be nominated by a political party or a public association, or can be self-nominated if certain criteria is met. A candidate has to be a citizen of Kazakhstan, over 25 years of age, live in the country for ten years, and hold no criminal record or an expired criminal record at the time of participation in the election.
To run for a seat in a single-mandate district, self-nominated candidates submit an application of intent, a curriculum vitae, a declaration of income and a confirmation of payment of the election fee, which is 1,050,000 tenge (US$2,359).
Out of 609 nominated candidates standing in single-mandate districts, 435 passed registration – an average of 15 candidates per mandate. Most candidates were nominated in districts 1 and 2 in Astana, 41 and 42 candidates, respectively.
Almaty has 37, 33 and 34 candidates running in districts 3, 4, and 5. The Turkistan Region is the least active – only five candidates were nominated there in district 25.
Among the registered candidates, 359 (82.5 percent) are self-nominated. Seventy-six candidates (17.5 percent) were nominated by seven political parties.
Eighty percent of candidates are men. The average age of the candidates is approximately 49 years.
Election to the maslikhats
Men account for 72.8 percent of candidates, while women make up 27.2 percent. The average age of candidates is approximately 42 years. Representatives of 39 ethnicities have been nominated.
Of 3,415 maslikhat mandates across 223 maslikhats in the country, 3,081 are in single-mandate districts. But 50 percent of members are elected on a proportional basis only in 20 regions, cities of national significance, and the capital. Candidates on party lists can run for 334 mandates.
A total of 10,288 candidates have been nominated for 3,081 seats, with more than three candidates per seat. Of those, 1,451 are registered at the regional level, with 2,114 at the city level and 6,723 at the district level. Almost 62 percent are self-nominated.
The CEC has registered 118 party lists from six political parties for the maslikhats, which include 1,447 candidates, with Amanat fielding 692 candidates in all 20 regions, Aq Jol putting forward 199 candidates in 20 regions, Auyl – 136 candidates in 20 regions, People’s Party – 172 candidates in 20 regions, Baitaq Green party – 89 candidates in 18 regions, and Respublica – 159 candidates in 20 regions.
There are 434 women and 1,013 men on the list, with 182 of them under 29. The average age of a candidate is 43.8 years, with the youngest born in 2003. The lists include representatives of 22 ethnicities.
Another round of televised debates of the political parties will be held on March 16 as part of the campaign, announced the CEC. More than 12 million people can vote in the upcoming election. The lists of all registered candidates can be found on the CEC website.