August 30, 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan at a nationwide referendum.
Over the years, the Constitution of Kazakhstan has shown its high efficiency, ensured peace, harmony and prosperity, the progressive development of the country, an increase in the well-being of Kazakhstanis, an increase in trust and respect for a young and forward-looking state.
The state policy pursued in Kazakhstan is aimed at the full implementation of constitutional values. Long-term development programs – Strategies “Kazakhstan-2030”, “Kazakhstan-2050” and other significant documents, were the basis for active purposeful work on the full disclosure of the potential of the Constitution in all spheres of life.
Preparation and acceptance process – Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The current Basic Law of the country is the result of many years of collective labor, at the origins of which was the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy N.A. Nazarbayev, who in that difficult period managed to rally millions of Kazakhstanis around himself and acted as a generator of ideas when developing his project.
When preparing the draft Basic Law, the President of the country personally studied more than 20 constitutions of different countries of the world. More than 3 million Kazakhstanis took part in the discussion of the project.
By the Decree of the Head of State dated May 22, 1995, No. 2292, the Expert Advisory Council under the President of the Republic was created to conduct an independent examination of the draft of the new Constitution, consisting of nine Kazakhstani lawyers and three foreign experts.
At the second session of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, held on June 30, 1995, the President of the country made a report “Comprehension of the past and further democratic reform of society” and for the first time presented the draft of the new Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It was approved by the Assembly, which called on the people of Kazakhstan to vote for it.
On June 30, 1995, the draft Basic Law was published for national discussion. During the month, about 33 thousand collective discussions took place and about 30 thousand proposals and comments were received. Despite the fact that, in general, the ideology and the main content of the project were preserved, 1100 amendments and additions were made to 55 articles.
By the decree of the President of the Republic of July 28, 1995, the draft Constitution was submitted to the republican referendum on August 30.
8 million 91 thousand 715 citizens of the Republic took part in the referendum (90.58 percent of all persons included in the voting lists). 7 million 212 thousand 773 people, or 89.14 percent of voters, expressed their support for the new Constitution. Against – 800,839 people, or 9.9 percent. 78 thousand 103 ballots were declared invalid.
As a result, on August 30, 1995, the current Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan was adopted at a republican referendum.
What the 1995 Constitution gave
With the adoption of the Constitution of Kazakhstan, the process of legalization of Kazakhstan’s statehood was completed and the beginning of widespread transformations was laid, the results of which today surprise many.
The Constitution made it possible to solve the main task of the transition period – to ensure the formation of a new subject of international relations – Kazakhstan – exclusively within the legal framework. During this difficult period, the country managed to avoid armed or other mass clashes and conflicts that took place in other countries. The progressive legal principles laid down in the text of the Constitution ensured a smooth transition of the country to an independent path of development.
Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the Constitution defines the qualities of the new Kazakhstan, which asserts itself as a democratic, secular, legal and social state, the highest values of which are a person, his life, rights and freedoms.
This means that the state does not have a more important task than caring for a person, his well-being. Human rights and freedoms determine the content and application of laws and other regulatory legal acts, are fundamental in the development and adoption of laws. Raising a specific type of rights and freedoms to the constitutional level and declaring in the Constitution about their guarantee implies imposing a special duty on the state to ensure the implementation of these rights and freedoms.
The Constitution of the Republic has enshrined the principle of equality of all before the law and court, ideological and political diversity, a complex of personal, socio-economic, political, cultural and other rights and freedoms of man and citizen.
The thesis “economy first, then politics” proclaimed by the President of the Republic at the dawn of independence, arising from the constitutional principle of economic development for the benefit of the whole people (paragraph 2 of article 1 of the Basic Law), gave a powerful impetus to the formation of a market economy with a social orientation in the country. Recognition and equal protection of state and private property, freedom of entrepreneurship, inviolability of property, enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic, are an important guarantee of the formation and functioning of a free market and business development.
The constitution determined the presidential form of government, the country’s territorial integrity and the inviolability of sovereignty.
According to the Constitution, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the head of state, its highest official, who determines the main directions of the domestic and foreign policy of the state. The President acts as a symbol and guarantor of the unity of the people and state power, the inviolability of the Constitution, human and civil rights and freedoms. It ensures the coordinated functioning of all branches of government and their responsibility to the people.
Article 2 of the Basic Law stipulates that the sovereignty of the Republic extends to its entire territory.
The state ensures the integrity, inviolability and inalienability of its territory. The Republic of Kazakhstan is a unitary state with a presidential form of government.
The Constitution resolved the issue of the relationship between national and international law, which allows the country to take part in the activities of international organizations, to initiate integration processes and to pursue a multi-vector foreign policy.
Today, a bicameral Parliament is successfully operating in Kazakhstan, executive bodies headed by the Government function effectively, and an independent judicial system is developed and improved.
One of the important institutions ensuring the rule of law in the country is the prosecutor’s office.
The activities of the Ombudsman for Human Rights, Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child, the legal profession, notaries and other institutions are aimed at protecting the constitutional rights and freedoms of man and citizen. The protection of the country’s sovereignty is provided by the national security agencies.
According to the Constitution, a special body has been established in Kazakhstan – the Constitutional Council, which ensures the supremacy of the Constitution throughout the territory of the Republic. It is not part of the judicial system; it is an independent and independent state body. The Constitutional Council was formed in February 1996.
In addition, a unique institution with a constitutional status, the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, has been created and is successfully functioning in Kazakhstan. It contributes to the formation and approval of the Kazakhstani model of a multi-ethnic society, the consistent unity of the Nation and plays an important role in strengthening peace and harmony in the country.
The Constitution of Kazakhstan is the core of the national political and legal system, the legal basis of the statehood and sovereignty of the country, law and order, the foundation on which all legislation and law enforcement practice is based. Today, the citizens of Kazakhstan refer to it as the most important and effectively working legal document. /// nCa, 26 August 2020 (in cooperation with Embassy of Kazakhstan, Ashgabat)