Astana, 1 February 2023 (TDI): Early elections for the Mazhilis, the lower house of Parliament, and the maslikhats, the local administrative bodies, are being planned in Kazakhstan.

Elections will be held on March 19, 2023, as a result of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s constitutional reforms. On January 19, when he dissolved the Parliament and abolished the maslikhats, the President announced the election date.

A detailed schedule for the elections has been released by the Central Election Commission (CEC), with candidate registration beginning on January 20 and ending on February 18.

The election campaign will run through March 18 at midnight (March 18 will be a day of no campaigning) and March 19 will be the actual election day. After the election, the CEC will have ten days to declare the results.

The registration threshold for political parties has been lowered from 20,000 to 5,000 members as a result of constitutional reforms, and the minimum number of representatives for regional parties has also been lowered from 600 to 200.

As a result, a number of new parties—including the Ak Zhol Democratic Party, the Amanat party, the Auyl People’s Democratic Patriotic Party, the Baitak Party, the National Social Democratic Party, the People’s Party of Kazakhstan, and the Respublica Party—have registered for the upcoming election.

Furthermore, the candidate must be a citizen of Kazakhstan, be at least 25 years old, and have resided in the nation for the previous ten years in order to be eligible to run for a seat in the Mazhilis.

Likewise, candidates must be at least 20 years old, citizens of Kazakhstan, and residents of the region they want to represent in order to be eligible to run for maslikhat.

These elections are an important part of the President Tokayev-initiated political renewal cycle, which started with the presidential election in November 2022 and continued with the Senate election in January 2023.

In the Mazhilis election, a mixed proportional-majoritarian model will be used for the first time, with 70% of deputies chosen proportionally from party lists and 30% chosen via majoritarian rule from single-member districts.

While the maslikhat elections will also be conducted using a mixed electoral system with a 50/50 split. To ensure openness and transparency, both domestic and foreign observers will watch the election process.

If they possess an accreditation certificate from Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives of foreign media may observe elections. On March 13, accreditation for observers from foreign states and international organizations ends.

As a result, it is anticipated that the early elections for the Mazhilis and maslikhats will be held in a free, fair, and transparent manner. It is pertinent to note that these elections are an important step in Kazakhstan’s political renewal process.