Elections to the Mazhilis (the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament) and the maslikhats (local administrative bodies) will take place on March 19 this year.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dissolved the parliament chamber and terminated the powers of the maslikhats on January 19, when he announced the date of the elections.
In his statement, President Tokayev said: "The holding of early elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats is dictated by the logic of the constitutional reform, supported by citizens at the national referendum. According to its results, our country moved to new, fairer, and more competitive rules of formation of the representative branches of power."
President Tokayev first proposed holding elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats in his Address to the Nation on September 1 last year.
Timetable for the elections
The Central Election Commission (CEC) has published the following timetable:
• 20 January - Candidates' registration begins.
• 18 February - End of candidate registration and start of election campaign.
• 17 March - Election campaign will run until midnight on March 18.
• 18 March - Day of silence (no campaigning is allowed).
• 19 March - Election day.
CEC will have ten days following the election to announce the results.
List of political parties
Thanks to the constitutional reforms implemented last year in Kazakhstan, registering political parties has become significantly easier. For example, the registration threshold has been reduced fourfold from 20,000 to 5,000 members. The minimum requirement for the number of regional party representations was also reduced from 600 to 200 people.
As a result, several new political parties have registered before the upcoming election.
Overall, seven parties are now registered in the country, including:
• Amanat party - largest party to date in Kazakhstan. The party is led by Erlan Kosanov since 2022.
• Ak Zhol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan - a liberalconservative political party in Kazakhstan. Led by Azat Peruashev.
• People's Party of Kazakhstan - a left-wing political party in Kazakhstan, currently led by Ermukhamet Ertysbayev.
• Auyl People's Democratic Patriotic Party - a social democratic party that supports agrarian interests. Led by Äli Bektaev.
• National Social Democratic Party - A centre-left party led by Ashat Raqymjanov.
• Baitak Party - a party with an environmental focus, which received registration from the Kazakh Ministry of Justice on November 30 last year. Azamatkhan Amirtay is the party's founder and chair.
• Respublica Party - the newest party in Kazakhstan, which received registration on January 18 this year. Aidarbek Khojanazarov is the party's chair.
Requirements for candidates
To be eligible to run for the seat in the Mazhilis, a candidate must be a citizen of Kazakhstan, be at least 25 years of age, and should also have resided in Kazakhstan for the past ten years.
A candidate for the seat in the maslikhat must also be a citizen of Kazakhstan, live in the region the candidate wants to represent, and be at least 20 years of age.
Background to Kazakhstan's electoral system
President Tokayev first proposed holding elections to the Mazhilis and maslikhats in his Address to the Nation in September last year. As such, the period from this announcement to the voting day will be more than six months. This is the first time in Kazakhstan's modern history that candidates have had this amount of time to prepare for an election campaign.
A mixed proportional-majoritarian model will be used for the first time for the election to the Mazhilis, where 70 percent of deputies will be elected proportionally from party lists, and 30 percent by majoritarian rule from single-member districts. This initiative follows the amendments to the Constitution that were adopted as a result of the national referendum that took place on June 5 in 2022.
The elections to the maslikhats of districts and cities of national importance will also be held under a mixed electoral system, with a 50/50 ratio.
These elections constitute the final stage in the political renewal cycle initiated by the President, which started with a presidential election on November 20 last year and continued with Senate elections on January 14 this year.
Other important election rules include the "against all" column on all ballots, the reduction of the threshold for parties to enter the Mazhilis from seven to five percent, and the legislative establishment of a 30 percent quota for women, youth, and persons with special needs in the distribution of deputy mandates.
Electoral standards and international observers
International observers will be invited to Kazakhstan to ensure openness and transparency during the electoral campaign. Domestic observers will also monitor the election process and voting.
Representatives of foreign media may observe elections if they have an accreditation certificate issued by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Accreditation of observers of foreign states and international organizations ends on March 13.