Kazakh chief seeks political capital in constitutional reform vote By Reuters


© Reuters. A voter casts her poll throughout a constitutional referendum at a polling station in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, June 5, 2022. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev


ALMATY (Reuters) – Kazakhstan votes on a constitutional reform on Sunday promoted by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as a step in direction of liberalising the tightly-run oil-rich nation, though it could nonetheless depart key powers in his palms.

The reform is probably going to offer the 69-year-old Tokayev the political capital he must run for a second time period within the Central Asian nation intently allied with Russia, this time with out the backing of his former patron and predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Though in energy since 2019, following Nazarbayev’s abrupt resignation after three a long time in energy, Tokayev has solely totally emerged as an unbiased determine this yr after subverting an tried coup in January and eradicating Nazarbayev and his relations from key positions within the authorities.

Apart from strikes to decentralise decision-making and permit better illustration of varied teams in parliament, the reform may also strip Nazarbayev of his “nationwide chief” standing which granted him lifetime privileges.

Tokayev has described the proposed adjustments as a transfer from a “superpresidential” system to a presidential republic with a powerful parliament. Though critics say the reform is beauty, it does mark a reversal from a decades-long development in direction of strengthening presidential powers.

“We’re… laying the inspiration for the Second Republic,” Tokayev stated, addressing the nation on the eve of the vote.

Analysts say the transfer is partially a response to January’s unrest which began as a protest in opposition to a gasoline worth hike and advanced right into a broad show of public discontent with a system which concentrates energy and wealth within the palms of some.

Tokayev has additionally known as for larger taxes on the profitable extractive industries and high-income people, saying social justice could be the cornerstone of a brand new social contract.

Addressing home coverage considerations would liberate the profession diplomat’s palms to cope with unprecedented exterior turbulence.

Caught between main financial and safety accomplice Russia and the West, which has invested a whole lot of billions of {dollars} into its big oilfields and mines, Kazakhstan is attempting to navigate a manner via the Ukrainian disaster with out angering both facet.

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