In accordance with the Constitution, after consultations with the Speakers of the chambers of Parliament and the Prime Minister, I have signed decrees on the dissolution of the Mazhilis and the early termination of the powers of the maslikhats. I express my gratitude to the deputies for their active and fruitful work. The deputies of the Mazhilis and maslikhats were at the epicenter of the large-scale reforms conducted in the country. They regularly met with voters, visited the most remote regions, set the tone for public discussions, raising pressing issues of citizens.
I hope the new deputies continue to work in the same format and give a new impetus to the comprehensive modernization of our country. The early election of deputies to the Mazhilis will be held on March 19, 2023. Election of deputies to the maslikhats of all levels will be called by the Central Election Commission.
Last year, in my September 2022 State of the Nation Address, I proposed holding elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats in the first half of this year. Thus, the period from the announcement of this initiative to the voting day will be more than six months. During the years of independence, candidates and political parties have never had so much time to prepare for an election campaign.
The holding of early elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats is dictated by the logic of the constitutional reform, supported by citizens at the national referendum. As a result, our country moved to new, fairer and more competitive rules for the formation of the representative branch of government.
Now, 70% of Mazhilis deputies will be elected from party lists and 30% from single-mandate districts. Elections to maslikhats of regions and cities of national significance will also be held according to the mixed electoral system, in the ratio of 50 to 50. And in the elections to the maslikhats of districts and cities of regional significance, citizens will vote only for candidates in single-mandate constituencies. The new model for the formation of the Mazhilis and maslikhats will fully protect voters' interests both at the national and regional levels, and ensure a wide range of views in the representative bodies of power. This will create favorable conditions for the further development of civil society.
As part of the implementation of the constitutional reform, the procedure for registering political parties has also been greatly simplified. In particular, the registration threshold was reduced fourfold from 20,000 to 5,000 members. The minimum number of regional party representatives was reduced from 600 to 200 people. As a result, several new political parties have been registered in our country for the first time in a while.
In addition, an earlier decision to introduce the «against all» option in the ballot papers was of fundamental importance. A big step in the democratization of the country was the reduction of the threshold for parties to enter the Mazhilis from 7% to 5%. Another important initiative to ensure the inclusiveness of the electoral process was the establishment at the legislative level of a 30 percent quota for women, youth, and persons with special needs in the distribution of deputy mandates. All these institutional changes will strengthen political competition, ensure the openness of the political system, and promote the emergence of a new cohort of politicians.
Territorial election commissions play an important role in organizing and conducting elections. Therefore, in order to improve the quality of all election procedures, a professional basis has been ensured for regional election commissions.
The Central Election Commission and the Prosecutor General's Office will strictly monitor the observance of the law, transparency and fairness of the upcoming elections. The electoral process will be closely monitored by domestic and international observers. Citizen activism plays an important role here. All candidates and parties will receive equal access to the mass media in accordance with the law. I am sure this election campaign will demonstrates a high level of political culture and contributes to the consolidation of our society.
We have entered a new era of development in Kazakhstan. The country is undergoing a dynamic and comprehensive process of renewal. These elections will become the embodiment of changes taking place in society and will give a powerful impetus to further modernization of our political system. Today, there are not so many states in the world which carry out such large-scale transformations.
Elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats will be the final stage of rebooting state institutions and will exemplify the formula “A strong President – an influential Parliament - an accountable Government”.
Together we will have to overcome complex challenges and solve many vital problems on the way to building a Just Kazakhstan.
I urge everyone to show civic responsibility and take an active part in the elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats.