President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced on May 5 a statewide referendum on June 5 on the adoption of amendments to the Constitution.
In his televised address to the nation on constitutional reform, Tokayev said constitutional amendments are crucial for Kazakhstan. “The constitutional reform will mark a new stage in the development of our country,” he said. “The changes will affect a third of its articles. Therefore, I proposed to submit this issue to a republican referendum, because such large-scale changes should be made on the basis of the will of the people,” Tokayev said.
He called on everyone to take an active part in the referendum “for the future of our country, for the sake of future generations”, adding that “together we will build a new Kazakhstan, a just Kazakhstan!”
According to Tokayev, the referendum on the draft constitutional amendments will demonstrate the country’s firm commitment to democratic principles, adding that it “will allow every citizen to participate directly in the historic event that will determine the future of Kazakhstan”.
According to Tokayev, the constitutional reform aims at a complete transformation of the whole state model, which includes the final transition from a “super-presidential” form of government to a presidential republic with an influential parliament and a responsible government, which involves limiting the powers of the President.
Furthermore, the constitutional reform, Tokayev said, will significantly strengthen the representative branch of power, strengthen the system of checks and balances and increase the independence of the maslikhats (local representative bodies).
In addition, the introduction of a mixed majority-proportional model for the election of deputies to the Mazhilis and regional maslikhats will make it possible to cover more completely all the views and opinions of voters.
Part of the amendments will also strengthen the protection of human rights, by creating the Constitutional Court, consolidating the status of the Commissioner for Human Rights at the constitutional level and completely banning the death penalty, the Kazakh President said .