Kazakhstan’s constitutional amendments: A policy review
REFERENDUM will be held on June 5, 2022 in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Despite propaganda of the West and especially the International Human Right Watch (2022) the referendum is not an “extra constitutional” move rather, it is derived from it.
Moreover, it is not the violation of basic human or political rights; rather it is being implemented to “safeguard” the basic necessities of life and “provision” of human rights.
Thus Western propaganda about holding of referendum is not anti-democracy and of course anti-constitutional.
Furthermore, holding of referendum is not meant to further “consolidation” of presidential powers, rather it is being carried out to slash certain desertions of the same.
It is a first “giant step” towards functional and liberalized democracy to create a responsive state, vibrant system and dynamic society in the country.
It is indeed a “paradigm shift” from ancient Greek and Roman political philosophies of absolute power and journey towards “rational power” and “sensible authority”.
It is holistic and harmonious having futuristic orientations. “Trinity” of modern democracy has been evolving since 15th century.
Now modern democracy heavily depends upon good governance, decentralization of political desertion and administrative machinery, financial independence, equal socio-economic rights and above all protection of basic human rights.
In this context, critical analysis of the upcoming referendum upholds that all these golden principles of modern democracies starting from top to bottom are enacted and included.
Thus the referendum of Kazakhstan is being carried out in accordance with the modern democratic norms and traditions.
Comparative study of various democratic systems of the modern world reveals that “separation of powers” and notions of “checks & balances” are the constitutional “guarantors” of real democracy, distribution of power and pursuing a balanced development pattern in the country.
In this regard, one of the “main aim” of holding this referendum is to redraft, redesign, reshape and redistribute all political, judicial, administrative, financial, economic and social rights, duties, responsibilities and last but not least, “national narrative” of governance.
Thus it is “transitional”, “transformational” and “interactional” in all aspects which are good for the country, state, and its people alike.
“Magna Carta” was primarily signed in 1215 as “Confidence Building Measure’’ between the British Monarchy and its struggling people.
Whereas, the referendum of Kazakhstan is going to hold for complete “overhauling” of the existing political system, judicial independence and efficacy, transparency, accountability, fair-play and equal rights doctrines to give some substantial relief to people who are the real owners of the system.
Thus it has more “contractual” and “constitutional” values. The French political therapy of “Social Contract 1762” was basically pursued for those monarchs who were divinely empowered to legislate.
However, Rousseau asserted that only the people, who are sovereign, have that all-powerful right.
Therefore, the Kazakhstan’s referendum is “dynamic” and “diverse” as compared to French Social Contract and deals with all possible injunctions of the Constitution and modern democracy to provide basic necessities of life and provision and pledge of protection of basic human rights through social justice, people’s friendly policies, equal economic rights, socialization of the state and the society and last but not the least, further strengthening of local governance through the rigorous participation of common people in the decision-making process.
Furthermore, the US “civil liberties and rights” of 18th & 19th centuries guaranteed equal social opportunities and equal protection under the law, regardless of race, religion or other personal characteristics.
The salient features of the upcoming referendum of Kazakhstan comprises all “people’s rule” instead of political power glorification, supremacy of “Parliament” instead of personal gratification and trimming of presidential powers instead of undue and unjustified concentration of power.
Thus Kazakhstan’s referendum is more “assertive” and “result-oriented”. The rise of “capitalism” in the early 19th century started an unending race of prioritization of profits along with prophecies of corporate governance in the West and around the globe.
In this connection, the Kazakhstan’s referendum is the “gateway” towards achieving the optimal level of good governance, implementation of anti-corruption policies and strategies, completely abolishing the concepts of “cartels and cronies”, integrated strategies to channelize the resources of the state for the betterment of its people and not to defend business tycoons for the sake of political advantage and corporate mileage in the country.
Thus it kicks off a new journey of people’s rule in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Now let us talk specifically about the material of constitutional amendments of the upcoming referendum.
It is drafted to trim the overwhelming powers of the president; redistributing power through the branches of government; enhancing the role of parliament; increasing public participation in the running of the country and strengthening the civil rights of citizens”.
Thus it seems that Kazakhstan which has its own unique model of people’s democracy has started its journey towards pure “Liberalized Democracy”.
So, 3PS golden principles of the modern “political thought” will have now interesting meanings i.e.People, Parliament and Productivity.
The three “pillars” of modern democracy and statehood are Legislature, Executive and Judiciary and the upcoming referendum of Kazakhstan will change the basic composition, utility, importance and political orientation of all three.
There will be more defined checks and balances (rights of mutual control and influence), the separation of powers, the Rule of Law and Economic equality enshrined in the Constitution.
It is obvious that the successful holding of the referendum through the adoption of amendments to 31 Articles and addition of 2 new Articles to Kazakh Constitution will authorize common people/voters to expand their participation in “state affairs’’ which will ultimately ensure genuine democratization of political processes.
It would be a giant step towards “decentralization” of political, financial, economic and administrative powers at the door steps of common people.
Thus new concepts of economic equality, social security, political diversity, administrative capacity, balanced pattern of development, social justice and last but not the least human capital engineering will be included in the new constitution in the country.
To conclude the visionary leadership of Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev aims to further enhance people’s participation in the political system through changing the hang-over of corridor of powers since 1995, removing the psychological barriers of absolute powers, eradicating the strongholds and stigmatization of cartels and cronies, regulating accumulation of wealth, discarding the deity of political affiliation and administrative favour.
Hopefully, the upcoming referendum of Kazakhstan will change flaws in old economic theories and book of Adam Smith i.e.
The Wealth of Nations. It will definitely change ancient theories of Greek and Romans about amassing of powers and bring meaningful changes in the Central Asian Region political mentality and manifestation of political powers.
Precisely, it is about “noble vision” which guarantees victory for the people, the real owners of modern democracies.
It is about greater people’s participation, productivity of the State, and positivity of the political system which absolutely negates Western propaganda and paradoxes. It will institutionalize new “oxygen” in the system and shun oxymora in the system.
—The writer is Director, the Centre for South Asia & International Studies, Islamabad & regional expert, Kazakhstan & Central Asia.