Final results show overwhelming support to limit Kazakh president’s power

Nur-Sultan, June 7 (EFE).- The final results from the weekend referendum in Kazakhstan showed that 77.18% of voters approved amendments to the Constitution that limit the power of the president in favor of a stronger Parliament, the country’s Central Electoral Commission reported Tuesday.

“77.18% of the participants in the vote in all regions of the country, that is, 6,163,516 people, gave the ‘yes’ to the constitutional changes,” said Nurlan Abdirov, the commission’s president.

18.66% of voters voted against the amendments, he added.

“The referendum is considered valid,” Abdirov said.

The turnout to vote in the first referendum in 27 years in Kazakhstan, in which 56 amendments to 33 articles of the Magna Carta were in question, was 68.05%, according to official data.

The president of the largest economy in Central Asia, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said that he hoped the people’s support for the referendum that he proposed just over a month ago would unite and calm society after violent protests in January.

Tokayev, in power since 2019, assured that the referendum is the beginning of a “new” Kazakhstan and a guarantee that the events of January will not be repeated.

The vote was held five months after violent protests, fueled by social discontent with corruption and the country’s elite, in which the family of the first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had great influence and vast economic and political interests.

The uprising, which began as peaceful protests against the rise in the price of liquefied gas, turned into riots that caused 240 deaths and nearly 4,600 injuries, and which were repressed amid claims of an attempted coup.

Since then, Tokayev has managed to emerge as an independent figure – many considered that Nazarbayev was still ruling in the shadows – and has managed to oust his predecessor and his relatives from important economic and political positions.

The reforms are aimed at reducing the excessive powers of the president left over from the Nazarbayev era, so that he will not be able to belong to any party and will not be able to annul the decisions of the heads of local and regional executive bodies, among other limitations.

In addition, they will prohibit the closest relatives of the head of state from holding political and leadership positions in the quasi-public sector.

Meanwhile, both the Majilis (Lower House) and the Senate will gain powers and attributions.

A statement from the European Union’s Diplomatic Service said, “the EU takes note of the Constitutional Referendum in Kazakhstan, which took place on Sunday, 5 June. With this referendum, the people of Kazakhstan supported important constitutional amendments aimed at strengthening the democracy of the country. EFE


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