ASTANA – Astana hosted an international conference on Dec. 7 titled Constitutional Reform and Electoral System to mark the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission (CEC). Heads of central election commissions from 10 countries and six international organizations attended the conference.
Opening the conference was Advisor to the President Yernar Baspayev, who read out President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s address to the participants.
Tokayev said over the years of independence, Kazakhstan’s electoral bodies have been continuously developing.
“These bodies have consistently upheld high global standards regarding electoral rights. Additionally, cooperation with international partners has strengthened, and an open dialogue with society has been established,” said President Tokayev in his welcome address.
The President emphasized that the comprehensive constitutional reform, backed by an overwhelming majority of the population in a nationwide referendum in June 2022, has spurred modernization of the electoral system.
“During the period of comprehensive changes in Kazakhstan, special attention is given to the continuous improvement of electoral legislation. To fulfill this complex and responsible task, it is important to establish close relations with the expert community,” said Tokayev.
The conference, he noted, is a chance to voice well-considered opinions and propose new approaches to the development of the electoral system.
Opening the first session of the conference focusing on the evolution of electoral legislation in the context of constitutional reform, CEC Chairman Nurlan Abdirov said that the commission was the first specialized body in the management of the electoral process at the national level.
He underscored Kazakhstan’s commitment related to conducting free and competitive elections. “The fundamental novelties in electoral legislation, directly linked to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s constitutional reform, universally endorsed in the nationwide referendum on June 5, 2022, have become a starting point for a new era in public relations,” he said.
He reiterated that the country’s leadership focuses on expanding citizen participation in state governance through electoral processes.
During the conference, Abdirov signed memorandums of cooperation with the Supreme Election Council of Türkiye as well as the Central Election Commissions of Armenia and Uzbekistan.
It was 30 years ago on Dec. 8 that the Supreme Council of Kazakhstan adopted a resolution on the election of CEC. The Supreme Council was also in charge of deciding who would be included in the CEC, yet upon the recommendation of the President of Kazakhstan.
Before the constitutional reform in 2007, the appointment and dismissal, based on the President’s recommendation, of the chairman, deputy chairman, secretary, and members of the CEC was the competence of the Mazhilis, a lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament.
According to the Constitution, the President appoints the CEC chairman and two members for a five-year term, while the Senate and the Mazhilis each appoint two members for the same duration.