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New Mayoral Elections successfully conclude across Kazakhstan

 


Press Release
August 12, 2013

New Mayoral Elections successfully conclude across Kazakhstan

The Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Kazakhstan Kuandyk Turgankulov has announced that the election of 2,454 local mayors or akims under a new system has successfully taken place across cities, villages, towns as well as in rural areas all over Kazakhstan this week (August 5-9).

Under the new system akims have been elected at the local level by local representative bodies or maslikhats. Previously, akims were appointed by central government and the election of akims is seen as an important step towards greater state democratization and the development of the role of local government in Kazakhstan. The new system of akim elections was first presented in the Kazakhstan 2050 strategy announced by President Nazarbayev, in December 2012.

The akim elections were keenly contested. In total there were 6,738 registered candidates for the post of akim meaning that on average there were more than two candidates for each position. Chairman Turgankulov said: The seriously contested nature of the elections could be seen in the way that in 37 administrative regions the winning candidates were elected with a margin of just one vote.

Chairman Turgankulov noted that 280 of the elected akims were women - constituting 11.4% of those elected. He also mentioned the average age of newly-elected akims has fallen and is now 47. The youngest elected akim from Pavlodar region is just 25 years old.

The new system of akim elections aims to provide locally-elected akims and local communities with increased control over their local budgets. Rural akims, in particular, will be given additional powers strengthening their influence in auls (villages) enabling them to engage more directly in developing their communities - by constructing roads and improving housing and communal services.

The Central Election Committee (CEC) has played a pivotal role in the reform of the election of akims by examining similar systems of election governance in other countries and providing analysis and recommendation.

The elections of the akims took place in all 14 regions of the country meaning that over 90% of all local governors have been elected through the new system.

The local district or town election commission is responsible for the publication of the election results.

ENDS

Media contacts: Nurzhan Aitmakhanov
Press Secretary,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan
( +7 7172 720565
Mobile: +7 778 1888614
n.aitmakhanov@mfa.kz

Notes to Editors:
On 14 June 2013, President Nazarbayev signed the law on the Introduction of revisions and additions in legal acts in the Republic of Kazakhstan regarding the demarcation of authority between bodies of state governance. This law aims to improve the system of state management between state and regional bodies ensuring that power is split and not duplicated in various agencies.

There are two stages to the concept of developing akim elections. The first stage of the concept of akim elections (2013-2014) will broaden the potential workings of the new system at lower levels of government. The second stage of the concept (2015-2020) includes plans to develop local government further. A subsequent presidential decree in April 2013 (No.555) furthered clarified and strengthened the provisions for electing akims.

The registration of candidates for the akim elections was completed on 24 July. In total, 6738 candidates were registered to take part in the elections. Akims have been elected on the basis of indirect suffrage by secret ballot. This suffrage is called indirect as akims were elected by district or town maslikhats as electors. A total of 2,602 deputies in 188 maslikhats took part in electing akims this is in line with the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy which outlined the aim to have over 90% of all governors elected under the new system. Each maslikhat had an electoral commission and 1,316 experienced staff were involved in the commissions.

Voting took place at the following dates in the following locations:
August 5: South-Kazakhstan region.
August 6: Atyrau region.
August 7: Aktobe, Almaty, Kostanai, Kyzylorda, Mangistau, Pavlodar and North-Kazakhstan regions.
August 7-8: East-Kazakhstan region.
August 7-9: West-Kazakhstan region.
August 8: Akmolinsk and Karaganda.
August 9: Zhambyl region.

The indirect election of akims has been recognized as one of the most significant aspects of the sustainable democratization of Kazakhstan as outlined in the Kazakhstan 2050 strategy, and builds strongly on previous attempts to reform the election of akims in 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2006.