One Year of Tokayev’s Presidential Tenure: A Year of Reforms and Transformation

ASTANA — Exactly one year ago, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev secured a resounding mandate from the people, receiving over 80% of the votes in the presidential elections. Since then, President Tokayev has steadfastly pursued a path of deep and sustainable reforms he initiated in 2019, wrote State Counselor Erlan Karin in his Nov. 20 Telegram post. 

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev swore an oath to the people of Kazakhstan and assumed the office of the President during his inauguration at the Palace of Independence in Astana on Nov. 26. Photo credit: Akorda.

Reform of the Electoral System

President Tokayev has underscored his commitment to political and social reforms, expressing a dedication to inclusivity by welcoming opposition voices into the political arena. Notably, the electoral system underwent a reset in the past year.

“The presidential elections gave rise to an electoral cycle, following which both houses of Parliament and maslikhats [local representative bodies] were re-elected and significantly renewed. Three weeks ago, elections for akims [local mayors] of districts and cities of regional significance were held in Kazakhstan for the first time. Thus, the democratic transformation of our country’s political system is steadily moving forward,” wrote Karin.

State Counselor Erlan Karin. Photo credit: Akorda.

Another noteworthy initiative is the re-establishment of the Constitutional Court, operational since January, providing every citizen with a direct avenue to defend their constitutional rights. The Human Rights Commissioner and Prosecutor General can now approach the court directly, promising a more accessible justice system.

Economic Reforms

According to Karin, President Tokayev’s strategic course aims to reform all aspects of Kazakh society synchronously. In his state-of-the-nation address this September, Tokayev announced a transition to a new economic model involving further demonopolization and diversification of the economy. This includes the development of industry, agriculture, transport, logistics, the financial sector, and systemic support for small and medium-sized businesses.

President Tokayev focused on small and medium-sized businesses, which currently account for 36.4% of the GDP as of this year. Instead of multiple programs, Tokayev tasked the government with developing a single program encompassing support measures for businesses, specifically emphasizing those investing in growth potential, technology, productivity, and export orientation.

Socio-political Reforms

State Counselor Karin emphasized that President Tokayev is spearheading significant changes in the social and humanitarian sphere alongside political and economic reforms. 

“Their goal is to form a new quality of the nation through the development of education, science, and culture,” Karin wrote.

Key initiatives highlighted by Karin include the National Fund for Children project, the Aul Amanaty program aimed at helping village residents implement their business projects, and the return of illegally obtained and withdrawn assets to the country.

“All directions of the presidential strategy – politics, economics, and ideology – all together form a single program for the systemic modernization of the country,” Karin concluded, reflecting on the comprehensive nature of the reforms undertaken in Tokayev’s first year in office.

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