Biblid: 0543-3657, 74 (2023)
Vol. 74, No 1189, pp. 57-78
Received: 13 Jul 2023
Accepted: 15 Sep 2023
CC BY-SA 4.0
CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS IN KAZAKHSTAN: THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE POLITICAL SYSTEM UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF KASSYM-JOMART TOKAYEV
PROROKOVIĆ Dušan (Senior Research Fellow, Head of the Centre for Eurasian Studies, Institute of International Politics and Economics, Belgrade, Serbia), email@example.com
Kazakhstan witnessed the most substantial and powerful “political earthquake” in January 2022, in its thirty-year history as a Republic. Protests against the increase in the price of energy soon turned into violent riots, during which 225 people lost their lives. The causes of these events are certainly complex and profound. In order to eliminate part of the cause, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev first proposed and then implemented reforms that changed the constitutional and legal systems and, to a large extent, transformed the political system. In lieu of a super-presidential system, there have been endeavours to establish a presidential system featuring a robust parliament, which not only exercises legislative authority but also assumes a substantial oversight role. In addition, the method of electing people’s representatives in the assemblies was changed, a balance of power and responsibility was established, and better mechanisms for respecting human rights and freedoms were ensured. This paper describes and analyses both the reforms themselves and their reasons. At the same time, it challenges theses about the past and future character of the Kazakh political system. The theoretical framework is based on modern normative political concepts, including dialectical-critical discourse in the part of the research that refers to the views of individual authors on the history of Kazakhstani constitution-making. The methodological framework is based on the case study analysis. Conclusions support the thesis that reforms are oriented towards the long-term stabilisation of institutions and ensuring security.
Keywords: Kazakhstan; Kassym-Jomart Tokayev; unrest; Tragic January; constitutional reforms; political system.