New Kazakh parliament starts session with dissolution of government
Astana, Mar 29 (EFE).- The Mazhilis, or the lower house of the Kazakh Parliament, began its first session on Wednesday with the dissolution of the government decreed by the country’s president, Kassym Jomart-Tokayev, according to Akorda, the president’s office.
“In relation to the dissolution of the Government of Kazakhstan before the newly elected Mazhilis I decree: the Government of Kazakhstan shall perform its duties until the new Cabinet of Ministers is approved,” the leader of the Central Asian country said during the opening of the new parliament.
“Now the Government will become truly accountable. In this context, It is not enough for ministers to know their job well,” Tokayev said.
“They should be able to defend their positions before parliament in a well-founded and competent manner, to convey their thoughts accurately and clearly to society,” the president explained.
He said that “now there is a full opportunity to openly talk about the mistakes and shortcomings of the government.”
“This opportunity should be used properly in the interest of the people. Parliament’s work should be as transparent as possible,” he said, proposing that the legislative sessions be broadcast live.
This, he believed, will help to create new norms of social policy and develop the culture of dialogue in society.
During his speech, Tokayev referred to recent reforms and that, for the first time, direct elections for mayors of 45 districts and cities will be held.”Kazakhstan is the only country in this geopolitical region that is carrying out radical reforms,” he said.
The head of state also stressed that support for socially vulnerable citizens should be one of the main tasks of the government, with help for families, childcare subsidies and social assistance for low-income families.
“People in trouble should not be left without help,” Tokayev reiterated.
Following recent parliamentary elections, the ruling Kazakh party Amanat won 62 of the 98 seats, followed by Auyl (Village), which won eight seats, while the Ak Zhol Democratic Party and the emerging Respublica, secured six seats each.
The People’s Party of Kazakhstan (NPK) gained five seats, and the Nationwide Social Democratic Party (OSDP) earned four.
The Baitak party, representing the Kazakh Greens, was left out, having received only 2.3% of the votes.
By lowering the threshold from 7% to 5%, three new parties entered the lower house: Auyl, Respublica, and the opposition OSDP.
The early parliamentary elections on March 19 were held in the context of reforms introduced by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to bring the Central Asian nation closer to holding elections in accordance with international standards.
Over the past four years, President Tokayev has ousted almost everyone close to the previous president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been relegated to the background since 2019.
In an attempt to break with the past, Tokayev even changed the name of the country’s capital, which reverted to its post-Soviet name, Astana, after being renamed Nur-Sultan in March 2019, an example of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s cult of personality. EFE