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Kazakhstan's Political System

Following the 1995 Constitution, most recently revised in 2007, Kazakhstan is a unified state, secular, presidential and formally democratic republic.

President, Government and National Assembly

The president is both the head of state, the military commander and the real head of government. The President is elected from the 2012 general elections for five years. The Government is appointed by and responsible to the President, who also appoints other key officials.

Political System of Kazakhstan

Legislative power has been added to parliament, consisting of a Senate and another chamber (Mazhilis). The Senate has 47 members, of which 32 - two from each of the country's 14 regions and two metropolitan areas - are elected by the regional electoral corps for six years, with half being elected every three years; the other 15 members are appointed by the president. The Second Chamber has 107 members, 98 of whom are elected in direct elections for five years on party lists according to the ratio method; nine members are elected by a 350-member assembly representing the country's national minorities.

The party Nur Otan (the Fatherland Light), which supports President Nursultan Nasarbayev, received 84 of the total 98 seats elected in the 2016 elections. but the president can veto the council's judge. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how KGF can stand for Kazakhstan.

Since 1989, the country's policy has been characterized by Nursultan Nasarbayev. In 1989 he became First Secretary of the Communist Party and in 1991 became the first President of independent Kazakhstan. His government has gradually become more authoritarian, and the 1995 Constitution has laid the groundwork for a strong presidential regime following French (Gaullist) role models.

Elections and parties

International observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have regularly observed presidential and parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan since becoming independent in 1991. No elections have been recognized as completely free and fair by the OSCE.

During the country's last elections (parliamentary elections in March 2016), the OSCE noted that despite some progress, Kazakhstan still has a long way to go to secure fair elections. The OSCE further noted that the ruling party had a clear advantage over the others in the election campaign and that there is a lack of real political pluralism.

During the last parliamentary elections, President Nursultan Nazarbayev's own party Nur-Otan took over 82 percent of the vote while the other votes were given to two government-friendly parties, Ak Zhol and the Communist Party.

The country's largest opposition party, Alga !, is banned and cannot take part in elections. The party's leader, Vladimir Kozlov, sat in jail until 2016 and was recognized by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations as prisoners of conscience.

The Kazakh authorities regularly crack down on critical media, and have banned several newspapers (Respublika, Vzglyad, Adam Bol and others) and online TV channels (K +, Stan TV).

Administratively

Administratively, the country is divided into 14 regions (akimat) and three urban areas. One of the urban areas, Bajkonur, is leased to Russia until 2050; here is the Russian (former Soviet) space center. The autonomy of the regions is rather limited.

Judiciary

The judiciary, which according to the constitution should be independent, is led by a Supreme Court of 44 judges. The judges in both this court and the lower courts are appointed by the president. The appointments to the Supreme Court must be approved by Parliament.

Kazakhstan's foreign policy

Relations with Russia still play a key role in Kazakhstan's foreign policy. Kazakhstan has taken several initiatives to strengthen the Commonwealth of Independent States (SUS) cooperation. Kazakhstan has joined the vast majority of cooperation agreements entered into in this organization. In 1994, President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed the creation of a Eurasian union with far greater supranational authority than the USSR and with its own parliament following the pattern of the European Parliament. A moderated version of the plan was launched six years later as the Eurasian Economic Community.

A comprehensive cooperation agreement with Russia was signed in May 1992. Kazakhstan has resisted Russian demands to open a general dual citizenship scheme for citizens of the two countries, but a new bilateral agreement in January 1995 introduced a system of "sleeping" dual citizenship . It automatically gives everyone who moves from one country to another the right to new citizenship from the moment of moving. In March 1996, Kazakhstan signed an agreement on closer economic and political integration with Russia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.

Integration efforts within Central Asia have been somewhat hampered by the Uzbekistan- Kazakhstan rivalry, both of which aspire to a leadership role in the region. However, following the death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov in 2016, diplomatic relations between the two countries have improved. Incidentally, the countries around the Caspian Sea have had disputes over the right to natural resources there. Most countries with a lot of oil near their own coast - Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan - have wanted the sea to be divided into national economic zones. Russia and Iranhas, on the other hand, wanted to regard the Caspian Sea as a lake, whose resources can only be utilized by agreement between all coastal states. In 1998, however, Moscow agreed to divide the northern area of ​​the sea between Russia and Kazakhstan.

The West's interest in Kazakhstan has largely been linked to concerns about the arsenal of nuclear weapons inherited from the Soviet Union. In December 1993, Kazakhstan joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In 1995, it was announced that the nuclear arsenal had been transferred to Russia for destruction.

Kazakhstan's defense

Kazakhstan has general military duty for men from the age of 18, with a first-time service of 12 months. The military service is scheduled to be discontinued.

Kazakhstan is a member of the NATO Partnership for Peace Program of 1994. The country has acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has returned to Russia all nuclear warheads from the Soviet Union. The test field at Semipalatinsk was closed in 1991.

The total force figures for Kazakhstan's armed forces are 39,000 active personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, 31,500 semi-military, including around 20,000 in the National Guard.

Army

The army has a strength of 20,000 active personnel. Materials include 300 tanks of a T-72, 100 reconnaissance vehicles, 607 armored vehicles, about 369 armored personnel carriers, about three armored fighters and 246 self-propelled artillery. In addition, the army has heavy artillery, and short-range ballistic missiles and conventional warheads.

Air Force

The Air Force has a workforce of 12,000 active personnel. Material comprising 46 fighters (including 14 MiG-29 and 32 MiG-31), 46 fighter aircraft (two MiG-23, 12 MiG-27, 24 Su-27 and eight Su-30), 14 attack aircraft of the type Su-25, one reconnaissance aircraft, 19 transport aircraft, 18 training aircraft, 64 helicopters, of which 24 combat helicopters (20 Mi-24 and four Mi-35), and two heavy drones. In addition, the Air Force has long range air defense missiles.

The Navy

The Navy has a staff of 3,000 active personnel, 12 patrol vessels, a minesweeper, and one auxiliary vessel.

International operations

Kazakhstan participated in the UN operation in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in 2018 with five observers.

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