Kazakhstan to hold early presidential elections on November 20

Kazakhstan’s President Kassim-Jomart Tokayev on Wednesday approved a decree to call early presidential elections on November 20, following the approval in a June referendum of a package of constitutional amendments.

“As head of state, I will ensure that the election campaign strictly adheres to the law,” said Tokayev, who assured that the elections “will be held fairly and openly” and “with a wide participation of domestic and international observers,” as reported by the Kazinform news portal.

“This will allow us to focus on coping with long-term tasks in the future and ensure sustainable economic growth, improve the welfare and quality of life of citizens,” explained Tokayev, who in September advanced that the elections would be held in the fall of this year, instead of in 2024, when they were scheduled.

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Kazakhstan faces a reform process following a major wave of protests over rising fuel prices in early 2022 that were violently suppressed and eventually contained with the deployment of a Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) contingent.

Thus, Tokayev raised in April a consultation so that the reforms to the Constitution proposed by the Parliament would gather social support, so that finally such a package came into force last June after being voted positively by 77 percent of Kazakh citizens.

The amendments will make it possible to strengthen the defense of human rights in the country, according to the authorities, as well as to re-establish the Constitutional Court and open the way to the abolition of the death penalty. On the other hand, it deprives former President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the honorary position of “leader of the nation” after his resignation in 2019.

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