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Politics of Kazakhstan


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  • 1. Benedict (Viktor) Gombocz
  • 2.  Location: Central Asia, northwest of China,with a small part west of the Ural (Zhayyq)River in eastern-most Europe Area:◦ Total: 2,724,900 sq km◦ Country comparison to the world: 9◦ Land: 2,699,700 sq km◦ Water: 25,200 sq km Area – comparative: Slightly less than fourtimes the size of Texas Land boundaries:◦ Total: 12,185 km◦ Border countries: China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan1,224 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km,Uzbekistan 2,203 km Coastline: 0 km (landlocked – note:Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now splitinto two bodies of water (1,070 km), and theCaspian Sea (1,894 km)
  • 3.  The majority of Kazakhs are Sunni Muslims of the Hannifin school, whichcustomarily include ethnic Kazakhs, who account for almost 60% ofKazakhstan’s population, along with minorities like Uzbeks, Uyghurs, andTatars. Less than 1% belong to the Sharis (mainly Chechens) and Shia. There are a total of 2,300 mosques; each mosque is associated with the“Spiritual Association of Muslims of Kazakhstan”, led by a supreme mufti. The Enid al-Adwa is recognized as a national celebration. Less than 25% of Kazakhstan’s population is Russian Orthodox, whichcustomarily comprises ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians. Other Christian minorities include Roman Catholics and Protestants(Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Pentecostals, as well as Jehovah’sWitnesses and Seventh-day Adventists, Methodists, Mennonites, and membersof The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons). In all, there are 265 registered Orthodox churches, 93 Catholic churches, and543 Protestant churches and prayer homes; the Russian Orthodox Christmas isrecognized as a national observance in Kazakhstan. Other smaller registered religions include Judaism, the Bahai Faith, HareKrishnas, Buddhists, the Church of Scientology, Christian Scientists, and theUnification Church. Kazakhstan is ethnically diverse; it has a long history of acceptance andsecularism and, since independence, the number of mosques and churcheshave increased significantly. Nonetheless, the population is at times suspicious of minority religious groupsand groups that proselytize; there were a number of incidences in whichcitizens filed objections with authorities after their families became involvedwith these groups. Leaders of the four religious groups regarded as “traditional” by the government(Islam, Russian Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Judaism) indicated overallacceptance and open-mindedness that other minority religious groups did notalways have the benefit of.
  • 4.  Muslim 70.2% Christian 26.2% (Russian Orthodox23.9%, other Christian 2.3%) Buddhist 0.1% Other 0.2% Atheist 2.8% Unspecified 0.5% (2009 census)
  • 5.  Kazakhstan’s politics function in the structure of a presidential republic; thePresident of Kazakhstan serves as head of state and appoints the head ofgovernment. The government exercises executive power; legislative power is vested in both thegovernment and the two chambers of parliament.
  • 6.  Capital: Astana◦ Largest city: Almaty Official languages: Kazakh(national), Russian Demonym: Kazakh Government: Dominant-party unitarypresidential state President: Nursultan Nazarbayev Prime Minister: Serik Akhmetov Legislature: Parliament Upper house: Senate Lower house: Mazhilis
  • 7. Main office holdersPowers of the Presidentand the Prime Minister Office: President◦ Name: Nursultan Nazarbayev◦ Party: Nur Otan◦ Since: 24 April 1990 Office: Prime Minister◦ Name: Serik Akhmetov◦ Party: Nur Otan◦ Since: 24 September 2012 The president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term. The president nominates both the PM and the first Deputy PM; thepresident also nominates the Council of Ministers. President Nazarbayev extended his presidential powers by decree:only he may initiate constitutional modifications, nominate anddischarge the government, dissolve Parliament, call referendums athis discretion, and nominate executive heads of regions and cities. The president acts as head of state; he is additionally thecommander-in-chief of the armed forces and can forbid legislationthat has been passed by the Parliament. President Nazarbayev, in office since Kazakhstan’s independence, waselected to a new 7-year term in the 1999 election, which theOrganization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said did not meetinternational standards. A key political opponent, ex-PM Akezhan Kazhegeldin, was forbiddenfrom running against the president because he attended an illegalmeeting of “the movement for free elections”. The election was also illegally called two years ahead of schedule. Free media access is also prohibited to contrasting views. In 2002, a law set very strict requirements for the continuance of thelawful standing of a political party; the number of legitimate partieswas decreased from 19 in 2002 to 8 in 2003. The PM, who serves as the president’s delight, chairs the Cabinet ofMinisters and serves as the head of government of Kazakhstan. The Cabinet is made up of three Deputy PMs and 16 ministers. Serik Akhmetov became PM in September 2012.
  • 8.  The legislature, or Parliament, contains twochambers. The Lower House Assembly (Mazhilis) contains 107seats, elected to a four-year term; 98 seats arefrom party lists, and 9 are from the Assembly ofPeople. All MPs are elected to five-year terms. The Upper House Senate contains 47 members; 40of them are elected to six-year terms in double-seat constituencies by the local authorities, withhalf renewed every two years; the other seven arepresidential appointees. Additionally, former presidents are ex-officiosenators for life. Majilis delegates and the government both reservethe right to legislative initiative, although thegovernment advises most legislation considered bythe Parliament. Numerous delegates are elected from theAssembly of People of Kazakhstan.
  • 9.  44 judges serve in the Supreme Courtof Kazakhstan. The Constitutional Council has sevenmembers.
  • 10.  Nur Otan (83) Ak Zhol (8) Communist People’s Party (7)
  • 11.  Born in Chemolgan on 6 July 1940. 1st and current President of Kazakhstan;assumed office on 24 April 1990. Also the 2nd and current chairman of theNational Democratic Party Nur Otan since 4July 2007. Previously served as Secretary General ofthe Central Committee of the CommunistParty of Kazakh SSR (22 June 1989-14December 1991) and Chairman of theSupreme Soviet of the Kazakh SovietSocialist Republic (22 February 1990-24April 1990). Was re-elected to another five-year term inApril 2011.
  • 12.  Born 25 June 1958 in Temirtau. 8th and current PM of Kazakhstan since2012. Served as Deputy Governor of Astanabriefly prior to his appointment to theGovernment of Kazakhstan as Minister ofTransportation on 25 September 2006. Has also served as Chairman of the Boardof the Atameken National Union ofEntrepreneurs and Employers ofKazakhstan since 2005. Was nominated by President NursultanNazarbayev as PM subsequent to KarimMassimov’s resignation on 24 September2012; was sworn in the same day.