References to Nazarbayev excluded from the draft of the new Constitution of Kazakhstan

Also, the draft of the new Constitution of Kazakhstan enshrined the final rejection of the death penalty and the departure from the super-presidential form of government. The referendum on amendments is to be held on June 5

The new Constitution of Kazakhstan will not mention the first president of the country, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This is stated in the draft law on amendments and additions to the Constitution of Kazakhstan, published in the newspaper “Kazakhstanskaya Pravda”.

The current president of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has proposed holding a referendum on constitutional amendments at the end of April. According to him, the amendments to the Basic Law are of a fundamental nature and will affect a third of the provisions of the country's Constitution.

Amendments to the Basic Law, among other things, include the exclusion of provisions on the legal status of Nazarbayev. Thus, an article on his status and powers is excluded from the Constitution, as well as a provision that allowed the first president to be elected to the post of head of state more than twice in a row. In addition, the wording about Nazarbayev and the invariance of his status as Elbasy, that is, the leader of the nation, is excluded from paragraph 2 of Article 91.

In addition, the amendments provide for the final rejection of the death penalty and the departure from the super-presidential form of government.

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Nazarbayev, who headed Kazakhstan for almost 30 years, resigned as president on March 20, 2019. After his resignation, Nazarbayev retained a number of privileges as the owner of the special status of the first president of the country, they are enshrined in the constitutional law “On the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan” Elbasy”, adopted in 2000. Subsequently, the law was repeatedly amended, strengthening the role of the first president.

The day before, on May 5, Tokayev released a video message to the citizens of Kazakhstan, in which he stated that the amendments to the Constitution are of “life-changing significance”; for the country. “The universal vote of citizens on the draft constitutional amendments will demonstrate our firm commitment to democratic principles,” Tokaev noted. On the same day, it became known that a referendum on changing the Constitution of Kazakhstan was scheduled for June 5.

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Prior to this, in mid-March, Tokayev proposed a program for the comprehensive modernization of the political system of Kazakhstan, in particular, the transition from a super-presidential form of government to a presidential republic with a strong parliament. He called for the introduction of the obligation for the head of state to terminate membership in the party for the period of office and the introduction of a ban on his closest relatives from holding positions of political civil servants and heading state-owned companies.

In January 2022, mass protests took place in Kazakhstan, which escalated into armed clashes and seizures of government buildings. During the riots, the Alma-Ata airport and administration buildings were seized, and shops were looted. According to the prosecutor general of the republic, Berik Asylov, 230 people died as a result of the protests, including 19 military and security officials.

One of the demands of the protesters was Nazarbayev's departure from politics. After the suppression of the protests, the three sons-in-law of the first president, his nephew and other relatives lost their positions, and the country's president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, promised large-scale reforms in the country.

After the protests, the deputies of the upper house of parliament Kazakhstan has approved legislative amendments abolishing Nazarbayev's lifetime chairmanship of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (ANK) and the Security Council. On January 27, the Senate of Kazakhstan also proposed to adjust the status of the Elbasy so as not to coordinate the main directions of domestic and foreign policy with him. Nazarbayev also ceased to be the head of the ruling Nur Otan party of Kazakhstan, which was later renamed Amanat.

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