Kazakh Elections Signal Groundbreaking Political Reforms in Central Asia, Says State Counselor Karin 

ASTANA — The recent elections of local akims (mayors) in Kazakhstan have made history as the inaugural experience of such democratic processes in Central Asia, wrote the State Counselor Erlan Karin on his Telegram channel on Nov. 6.

State Counselor Erlan Karin. Photo credit: Akorda.

He emphasized the significance of these elections, citing them as a pivotal moment in President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s ongoing political reforms that set a new direction for modernization in the region.

Karin underscored the unprecedented nature of these elections, emphasizing that while the elections of rural akims have been ongoing for the past two years—leading to the election of around 1,700 rural akims—the recent elections have marked the first instance of such democratic exercises in the country.

“The elections aroused great interest in society. The diverse pool of candidates hailed from various professional backgrounds, such as economists, lawyers, teachers, engineers, and agriculturalists. Moreover, all seven political parties nominated their candidates, signifying a broad-based involvement in the democratic process,” Karin wrote, noting the participation of 125 candidates vying for 45 akim positions. 

The Central Election Commission reported a notable voter turnout of 62.79% for the first-ever direct elections of akims in districts and cities of regional significance on Nov. 5. This figure underscores a robust level of civil engagement.

According to Karin, the groundbreaking nature of these elections in Kazakhstan not only sets a precedent for the region but also serves as a symbol of the nation’s commitment to embracing democratic values and enhancing citizen participation in governance. 

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