Kazakhstan went to presidential polls on 20 November 2022 with six candidates in the race. The incumbent Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was re-elected by a landslide 81.3% of the vote, according to the results announced by the election commission on 21 November 2022.
The resounding victory of Tokayev sends a clear message: The people of Kazakhstan have enthusiastically embarked on the journey that will transform the system in so many ways.
People want change and they welcome the ‘shape of the change’ that was defined by the election manifesto of Tokayev. Here are its main points:
• New initiatives will be aimed at achieving economic progress
• There will be the transformation of Kazakhstan and improvement in the welfare of the citizens
• There will be a balanced foreign policy to ensure regional and global security
• There will be: Fair State, Fair Economy, Fair Society
• he drive will continue toward: A strong president, An influential parliament, An accountable government
• There will be consolidation of positions of the people and the authorities
• The judiciary will be independent and the rights of the citizens will be protected
• There will be radical changes for the development of the economy including the reduction of state interference in the economy, combatting oligarchy, balanced and transparent fiscal policy, rural development of agriculture, expansion of transport corridors, independent energy system not limited to sustainable energy, infrastructure and regional development, production of high tech goods, and continued digital transformation of Kazakhstan
• The social investments towards citizens would be the basis of economy growth, encompassing but not limited to affordable and quality education, improved healthcare system, strengthened national sovereignty, more opportunities for youth to participate in the government, and protection of the environment
By re-electing Tokayev, the people have bought stakes in the shared future.
The agenda is enormous and ambitious. There is fixed time-period in which to achieve most of what has been promised – Seven Years.
This requires unity; horizontal and vertical unity.
The good thing is that unity across the national spectrum has been achieved for now. The other five candidates in the presidential race had a nearly identical manifesto as that of Tokayev. This was rather logical because after the Constitutional reforms of June 2022, the direction had been determined by the nation.
The landslide victory of Tokayev is also a sign of national unity. The people know where they want to go and they trust Tokayev to take them there.
One of the early challenges for Tokayev will be to maintain this unity and to keep cementing it. This will require some steps that should bring quick and visible benefit to the people. For this to happen, there would be the need for a team that acts in unison and remain genuinely responsive to the needs of the people.
There will also be the need to appreciate that Astana and Almaty deserve a different approach compared to the rest of the country. The analysis of the polling data will show the way. The fact that Astana and Almaty think somewhat differently than the rest of the country is a rather universal phenomenon. In most countries of the world, the mega cities and major population centres have their own mood and pace.
The Tokayev administration is likely to take quick measures to raise the satisfaction level of these two metropolises.
This entails the need for continuous identification and elimination of the patches of discontent. It will, in part, require the proportional allocation of the resources, and the most prudent use of those resources.
An urgent task will be to ensure the proper level of amenities and comfort during the long and harsh winter of Kazakhstan.
These two areas – the addressing of concerns of Astana and Almaty, and the effective measures to take the country through the winter – demand urgent attention because the country will keep going through the process of transformation of the system till the middle of the next year i.e. elections of the parliament and the local governments.
The first step toward New Kazakhstan has been taken and we are confident that the Tokayev administration will successfully deal with any and all challenges, keeping intact the confidence of the voters.
Godspeed Kazakhstan. /// nCa, 22 November 2022