16 Mar 2022 10:19

Kazakhstan should shift from super-presidential form of government to presidential republic with strong parliament - Tokayev

NUR-SULTAN. March 16 (Interfax) - Kazakhstan should shift from the super-presidential form of government to a presidential republic with a strong parliament, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.

"We need well considered steps to reconfigure the political model of Kazakhstan's development. First and foremost, this is a matter of the final transition from the super-presidential form of government to a presidential republic with a strong parliament," Tokayev said in his address to the nation at a joint meeting of parliament chambers on Wednesday.

This system will ensure the optimal balance of authorities and will promote sustainable national development, he said.

Tokayev proposed that the duty of the head of state to suspend one's party membership for the presidential term be put into law.

"Practically everything is linked to the president here nowadays, and I believe this is wrong. We should gradually abandon such practice. Long-term interests of the country are more important to me than some additional instruments of power and situational response," Tokayev said.

"I propose that we legalize the duty of the president to suspend one's party membership for the presidential term. This law will bolster political competition and will ensure equal conditions for the development of all parties," Tokayev said.

He also proposed that the constitution prohibit close relatives of the president from taking high-ranking positions in civil service and the quasi-state sector.

The president pledged to liberalize the registration of parties in Kazakhstan and to lower the registration threshold. "We should lower the registration threshold four times, from 20,000 to 5,000 people. The minimal staff of regional branches will be reduced three times, from 600 to 200 people. The minimal number of members in a group initiating the establishment of a party will be reduced by practically a third, from 1,000 to 700 people," Tokayev said.

He also said he had decided to cut the presidential quota in the Senate from 15 to ten deputies, "including five deputies to be recommended by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, instead of being elected by it, which happens now."

The lower chamber should represent the entire electoral landscape of the country without any artificial preferences, Tokayev said.

"We will thus eliminate the quota of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan in the Mazhilis, which, in my opinion, is right from the political and legal angle. The quota will be reassigned to the Senate and will reduce from nine to five deputies," he said.

In his words, 70% of Mazhilis deputies will be elected by the proportionate system, while 30% will be elected by the majoritarian system.

The mixed electoral system will apply to the elections of local government bodies in regions and cities with the republican status, Tokayev said. He proposed that at least two candidates for heads of cities and regions be nominated.

At the same time, the president proposed legislative amendments, which would vest the Mazhilis with the right to adopt laws, while the Senate would either endorse or deny endorsement to laws approved by the Mazhilis.

"I believe it would be reasonable to have a law, which will give the Senate the right to merely endorse or deny endorsement to laws adopted by the Mazhilis, while the right to adopt laws will be given to the Mazhilis," Tokayev said.

"For its part, the Senate should have the right to confirm candidates for chair of the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Judicial Council," Tokayev said.

In his opinion, that will significantly facilitate the lawmaking procedure.