Kazakhstan’s referendum to move constitutional modification to empower parliament

Opinion polls confirmed Kazakhstan bent on passing adjustments to its structure by means of a referendum on Sunday, after the bloody turmoil that ended founding chief Nursultan Nazarbayev’s three many years of management over the richest nation in Central Asia.

In three opinion polls, the state channel Telegram mentioned the constitutional adjustments handed with the help of greater than 74 % of voters, with official outcomes anticipated on Monday.

The January bloodshed, sparked by peaceable protests over rising automotive gas costs, killed greater than 230 folks and prompted authorities to name in forces from a Russian-led safety bloc.

The drive for a “new Kazakhstan” got here within the wake of violence from the person Nazarbayev selected to interchange him as president in 2019, Kasim-Jomart Tokayev.

>> Kazakh President Tokayev voted as chief of the ruling get together after a bloody crackdown

Tokayev, 69, describes the speedy referendum as a shift from “presidential supremacist” rule that might strengthen parliament.

However the absence of particular privileges for 81-year-old Nazarbayev is probably the most placing change within the structure.

Previous to the January disaster, Tokayev was broadly seen as a ruler underneath Nazarbayev and his very rich relations.

Even after stepping down as president, Nazarbayev retained the constitutional title of “Elbasy” or “Chief of the Nation” – a job that gave him affect over policymaking no matter his official place.

The brand new structure abolishes this example.

One other modification prevents relations of the president from holding authorities positions – a transparent indication of the affect of the Nazarbayev household and his relations, who misplaced highly effective positions within the wake of the violence.

Three government-backed pollsters indicated robust help for the adjustments after voting ended Sunday evening, with the bottom outcome displaying 74.8% in favor and the very best with 79.4% in favour.

Kazakhstan’s Central Electoral Fee claimed an preliminary turnout of 68.4 % within the vote.

‘Formality’ Polling stations within the largest metropolis of Almaty skilled a gradual inflow of voters in cloudless summer season circumstances.

Ayan, an 18-year-old pupil voting for the primary time, mentioned he welcomes the removing of the previous president from the statute.

“It has its place in historical past textbooks, however all residents must be equal within the structure,” he mentioned after casting his vote at his college, the place a small group of activists, calling for the discharge of political prisoners and in opposition to the vote, protested.

Within the capital, Nursultan, named after Nazarbayev, a 46-year-old businessman named Polat advised AFP he had no intention of voting.

“It’s a formality to strengthen the place of the present management. The outcome would be the similar,” he mentioned.

The New 12 months disaster in Kazakhstan remains to be poorly understood, as a days-long web shutdown on the top of the unrest helped additional block the occasions.

Protests erupted within the oil-producing west over rising gas costs within the new yr, however Almaty – 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) away – has turn out to be the epicenter of armed clashes, looting and arson.

Nur-Sultan, which was known as Astana earlier than 2019, has largely remained the identical.

Management battle Tokayev blamed the violence on “terrorists” looking for to grab energy and issued orders to “shoot to kill” Kazakh forces.

However the arrest for treason of Nazarbayev’s ally, who was the top of nationwide safety on the time, fueled hypothesis {that a} management battle was on the coronary heart of the violence.

After restoring stability, Tokayev criticized Nazarbayev for permitting inequality to fester, whereas crediting his mentor’s state-building achievements.

The 2 present and former presidents are allies of neighboring Russia, and the arrival of greater than 2,000 detachments of peacekeepers from a Moscow-led safety bloc cemented Tokayev’s maintain in January.

The Kremlin claimed that the intervention requested by Tokayev doesn’t prolong to any political settlement, which is “Kazakhstan’s inside affair”.

Nazarbayev has made little public appearances for the reason that disaster, however he solid his vote within the capital on Sunday, after expressing help for Tokayev and the adjustments.

In an interview revealed on Monday, he mentioned his relations must be “accountable” in the event that they dedicated crimes, however that they deserved a good trial – an obvious reference to the nephew of Kairat Satipaldi, a businessman presently detained on embezzlement expenses.


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