Elections in Kazakhstan

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Ballot boxes, Kazakh flag and state seal in an Astana polling place before the 2007 legislative elections.

Elections in Kazakhstan are held on a national level to elect a President and the Parliament, which is divided into two bodies, the Majilis (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). Local elections for maslikhats (local representative bodies) are held every five years.1

Elections are administered by the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is a one party dominant state. This party is a union of several parties and it was elected in 2007. Opposition political parties are allowed, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power.

Election procedures and technology

Voting booths, each with an AIS "Sailau" touch-screen electronic voting machine.

In the recent Kazakh elections, many Kazakh voters were offered a choice of voting on electronic voting machines or on paper ballots. At least some of the ballot boxes used in Kazakhstan are transparent in order to defend against ballot box stuffing. Each polling place was equipped with both a large ballot box and smaller mobile ballot boxes. The latter are designed to be carried, by poll-workers, to voters outside the polling place.2 This is an alternative to offering absentee ballots or proxy voting for voters with disabilities that prevent them from going to the polls.

Electronic voting in Kazakhstan is based on the AIS "Sailau" electronic voting system developed in Belarus and Kazakhstan. This system is best described as an indirect-recording electronic voting system, as opposed to the DRE voting machines that have been more widely studied.3 In this system, the touch-screen voting terminal in the voting booth serves as a ballot marking device, recording selections on a smart card. The voting terminal itself retains no record of the vote after the voter takes the smart card. The voter then takes the smart card containing the cast ballot record to the computer at the registration table that serves as the electronic ballot box where the permanent record of the vote is retained and tabulated.

On Nov. 16, 2011, Kuandyk Turgankulov, head of the Kazakh Central Election Commission, said that use of the Sailau system would be discontinued because voters prefer paper, the political parties do not trust it, and the lack of funds required to update the system.4

Presidential elections

Kazakhstan's president is elected by the people and serves for at most two five-year terms. Term limits were removed for the incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev on 18 May 2007, when parliament also voted to reduce the term length from seven to five years.5

Early presidential elections were called by President Nazarbaev. They will be held on 3 April 2011.

Latest election

e • d Summary of the 3 April 2011 Kazakhstani presidential election results
Candidates and nominating parties Votes %
Nursultan NazarbayevNur Otan 7,850,958 95.55
Ghani QasymovPatriots Party 159,036 1.94
Zhambyl AkhmetbekovCommunist People's Party of Kazakhstan 111,924 1.36
Mels EleusizovTabighat 94,452 1.15
Total (turnout 89.99%) 8,216,370 100.00
Source: Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, Daily Times

Parliamentary elections

The legislature, known as the Parliament (Parlamenti), has two chambers.

The Assembly (Mazhilis) has 107 seats, elected for a five-year term, 98 elected in general elections by proportional representation with 7% threshold and 9 elected by the Assembly of Kazakhstani Nation.

The Senate has 47 members, 40 of whom are elected to six-year terms in double-seat constituencies by the local assemblies, half renewed every two years, and 7 presidential appointees. In addition, ex-presidents are ex officio senators for life.

Latest election

e • d Summary of the 15 January 2012 Mazhilis election results
Parties Votes % Seats
National Democratic Party "Nur Otan" ("Light of the Fatherland") 5,621,436 80.99 83
Democratic Party of Kazakhstan Ak Zhol ("Bright Path") 518,405 7.47 8
Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan 498,788 7.19 7
Nationwide Social Democratic Party 116,534 1.68 0
Kazakhstani Social Democratic Party Auyl ("Village") 82,623 1.19 0
Party of Patriots of Kazakhstan 57,732 0.83 0
Democratic Party Adilet 45,702 0.66 0
Total (turnout 75.4%) 7,018,927 100.00 98

Source: KazInform

Past elections

See also

References

  1. ^ Kazakhstan Legislation Online
  2. ^ Chapter 7, Article 41, Paragraph 6, of the Kazakh Election Law, as amended, June 2007.
  3. ^ Douglas W. Jones, The Sailau E-Voting System, Direct Democracy: Progress and Pitfalls of Election Technology, Michael Yard, ed., International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Sept. 2010; pages 74-95.
  4. ^ Sailau e-system will not be used at Kazakhstan parliamentary elections in 2012, Tengri News, Nov. 11, 2011.
  5. ^ Kazakh MPs lift presidency limit BBC News

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