Int'l forum on evolution of party-political system of Kazakhstan starts in Nur-Sultan
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM - Two-day international forum entitled «The Evolution of Party-Political System of Kazakhstan: Challenges, Achievements and Perspectives» started in the Kazakh capital organized by the Institute of Public Policy of the Nur Otan Party, Kazinform has learnt from the Nur Otan Party’s press service.
Over 600 foreign and domestic experts, representatives of political parties, international organizations and diplomatic corps from 15 states, including Russia, China, the US, Europe, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Central Asia are taking part in panel sessions to discuss aspects of electoral system development, modern electoral trends, prospects of traditional and alternative ideologies.
The First Deputy Chairman of Nur Otan Party Bauyrzhan Baibek mentioned that the event precedes 30th Anniversary of Independence, welcoming forum participants.
«During these years our state has gone through a challenging path, equal to century-long ways. Overcoming demanding obstacles, our nation brought to life a long desired wish for independence. Thoughtful but decisive reforms of the First President – Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev allowed to unify the people in short time, provide them with hope and certainty for their future, as well as create a successful, peace loving state with a stable economy,» stated Bauyrzhan Baibek.
Among the main achievements of 30-year development of Kazakhstan he pointed out provision of peace and accord, abandoning the nuclear arsenal, closure of Semipalatinsk polygon, building the new capital and rise of the ancient Turkestan, friendly intra-regional relationships and delimitation of 15 thousand kilometers of state borders, crucial reforms on transformation to market economy and creation of the National Fund, large scale investments into social and transport infrastructure, population increase, etc.
According to him, all this became possible thanks to capable state socio-political institutions, advanced human capital, improvement of the life of Kazakhstanis, as well as the multi-party system built over the years of Independence with a dominant political force - the Nur Otan Party.
In his opinion, the formation of the party-political system in our country during the independence years can be divided into 3 stages. The first decade is a period of legal consolidation of a multi-party system, institutionalization of parties. The second decade is a stage of the qualitative strengthening of parties, a gradual transition from a majoritarian to a proportional electoral system. The third decade is the formation of the Kazakhstani model of a multi-party system with a dominant political force.
«Almost 10 years ago, Elbasy introduced the «Kazakhstan-2050» Strategy, and in 2015 - Five institutional reforms, which laid the long-term foundations for the further development of a multi-party system. As a result of the Constitutional reform, the role of Parliament was strengthened and the responsibility of the Government increased. Parliamentary parties received additional leverage over the executive branch. Taking into account the experience of more than 60% of the OECD member countries, a complete transition to a proportional electoral system took place, which institutionally strengthened the role and importance of parties in the life of the country,» he added.
As Bauyrzhan Baibek noted, since 2019, the development of the party-political system has continued within the framework of the continuity policy implemented by Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
«Having confidently won the presidential elections, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in his first Address to the nation: «We will carry out political reforms without getting ahead of ourselves, but thoughtfully. Our principle is that economic reforms are impossible without political modernization«. Since then, the country has already implemented several political reform packages. So, for parties, the registration barrier and the barrier for passing to Majilis have been legally lowered, quotas have been established for youth and women in electoral lists, the institution of parliamentary opposition has been consolidated, a notification principle for holding assemblies has been introduced, as well as the institution of direct election of rural akims,» said the First Deputy Chairman of the ruling party.
According to him initiated in August 2019 systemic «reset« by the Leader of the party, Nursultan Nazarbayev, allowed «Nur Otan» to confidently win the elections to the Majilis and Maslikhats at the beginning of this year, gaining almost 72% and 82% of support, respectively. For the first time in political practice, primaries were held; based on the public enquiries, 216 electoral programs were formed for each region, city and district
In general, the systemic transition to elections based on party lists created conditions for institutional enhancement of parties at all levels, increasing the responsibility of parties for election promises.
«In the first direct elections of rural akims held this year, Nur Otan Party scored in more than 80% of the districts. The President noted that direct elections have become a fundamental moment of political reforms affecting the interests of rural residents, and this is more than 40% of the population. As a result, today 3 political parties are represented in the Majilis, 5 political parties are represented in local representative bodies - Maslikhats, and 6 political parties of Kazakhstan are represented at the level of rural akims. Thus, it can be stated with confidence, that the multi-party system built over the years with the dominant Nur Otan Party is an important achievement of Independence,» highlighted Bauyrzhan Baibek.
Meanwhile, the global nature of the current problems requires close interaction and coordination from all states. In this vein, cooperation between the ruling parties is of particular importance. Bauyrzhan Baibek expressed confidence that the forum will be able to contribute to strengthening friendship and further cooperation not only between parties, but also among states and nations.
One of the speakers at the forum was Dauren Abayev, the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In his speech, he noted that one of the key stages in the evolution of the party system was the recent decision of the Leader of the Nur Otan Party, Nursultan Nazarbayev, to transfer the power of the Chairman of the ruling party to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
«This mature and wise decision has found high recognition and support of the Kazakh people. Today we continue to move forward under the leadership of the Head of State in line with his political motto «Continuity. Justice. Progress,» said Dauren Abayev.
The Secretary General of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties Cho Byung Jae in his speech focused on the successes of Kazakhstan in the field of foreign policy.
«Being at the center of Eurasia, your country is pursuing a multi-vector foreign policy, thanks to which Kazakhstan is in good relations not only with its neighbors, but also with the Western countries. Kazakhstan has built a very constructive dialogue with international organizations, other parties. Thus, the Nur Otan Party serves as one of the engines of international relations. The current task is overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic. I am confident that the ruling party will continue to pursue a successful domestic policy. I assume that this forum provides an excellent opportunity to establish a discussion aimed at eliminating global threat,» said Jo Byung Jae.
In turn, Andrei Klimov, Deputy Secretary of the General Council of the «United Russia» party, noted the friendly ties between the ruling parties of Kazakhstan and Russia.
«Many issues will be processed taking into account the experience of leading political forces. For our part, we are closely following the experience of the Nur Otan Party in conducting primaries, developing a youth wing, using online resources to receive citizens' enquiries and, of course, the work of the Institute for Public Policy, on the site of which the forum is being held,» noted Andrey Klimov.
Qian Hongshan, deputy head of the international department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, also expressed confidence in further strengthening cooperation between the ruling parties of the two countries.
«For 30 years of Independence, Kazakhstan has achieved great success. We observe that the people of the country remember and respect their historical culture and heritage, while ensuring economic and political development. Since the inception of the Nur Otan Party, a number of truly historic reforms have been implemented. We are confident that our states will continue to carry out bilateral relations, including at the party level,» said the spokesperson for the Chinese Communist Party.
Efkan Ala, Deputy Chairman of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey, emphasized the role of the ruling party in shaping the modern image of Kazakhstan.
«Turkey and Kazakhstan are fraternal countries with very deep historical roots. We are always proud of the achievements and progress achieved by Kazakhstan in a relatively short 30-year period. Kazakhstan is associated with stability. This is, of course, maintained by the role of the ruling party. We all paid attention to the country's economic growth, which was achieved under the wise leadership of the First President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. And I am sure that the ongoing reforms under the leadership of the new Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will lead to even greater success,» Efkan Ala added.
Tom Van Dijck, Secretary of the Group of European Conservatives and the Democratic Alliance in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), gave his assessment of the role of the Nur Otan Party in the formation of the party-political system of the country.
«For more than 20 years since its foundation, the party has firmly established itself on the political landscape of Kazakhstan. But this political landscape is radically changing not only in Kazakhstan, but throughout the region and, of course, in the Western world. We see that Nur Otan Party is already actively working on responding to new challenges and using important tools of democracy such as the primaries. Women and young people are actively supported in political activity; there is a 30% quota in party lists. I can say that the level of gender equality in the parliaments of 15 states of the Council of Europe is lower than in Kazakhstan. The development by the party of a system of direct communication with the population through online resources is also a good sign. I know that over a year alone, the party's branches have considered 400,000 enquiries. This means that thousands of people have confidence in the party,» said Tom Van Dijck.
Representative of the British Conservative Party, Member of the House of Lords James Wharton expressed his impressions of the progress of the Nur Otan Party in the development of democracy and common values.
«These values are evident in current goals and plans for the future. Primaries are what we have been implementing in the UK in recent years. I am sure that you are learning many of the same lessons as our democracy does, as you embark on your journey and participate in these new processes. The gender policy of quota on party lists is also a demonstration to forward-looking plans. All this suggests that we have many points of contact for closer cooperation,» stated Lord James Wharton.
Former member of the US House of Representatives from the Republican Party Kurt Weldon noted that the role of political parties and other socio-political organizations is predominant, since they are the mechanism that connects the institutions of the state with the institutions of civil society. The leading role among them belongs to the Nur Otan Party.
«Today we see how Kazakhstan is moving forward in the planned political reforms, including party building matters. Despite the global challenges and potential dangers, the party has shown itself as an active implementer of the initiatives of the Head of State among the population, becoming one of the connecting links between the state and society. Here, the key factor, in my opinion, is the foundation of the party, based on equality, mutual respect for traditions, values, taking into account the peculiarities of modern realities,» Kurt Weldon emphasized in his speech.