Kazakhstan is a bit strange in terms of politics. It is officially declared that it is a presidential republic. In fact, until recently, for more than 30 years it was subordinate to a single person, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev replaced him as president. And in 2022, early presidential elections were held, in which Tokayev won by a huge margin.
Brief history of the presidency
In 2019, Nazarbayev unexpectedly stepped down as president. According to the law, they passed to the then chairman of the Council of Parliament. It was Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who took the oath on the same day. 13 days later, the new president renamed the capital after the old one (from Astana it turned into Nur-Sultan), and a few months later he made an unexpected move: he announced early elections. The goal is clear: if the vote confirms the powers of the new head of state, he will be the president absolutely legally. And so it happened: Tokayev won by a huge margin.
Almost exactly one year after the transfer of power, Tokayev was forced to declare a state of emergency due to the coronavirus. Actively allocated funds to needy citizens. In 2021, he became chairman of the Assembly of Nations, and in 2022, chairman of the Security Council. A little later, he was elected the new head of the Nur Otan party instead of Nazarbayev.
But 2022 is not remembered for this. In connection with a two-fold increase in prices for liquefied gas, protests began in the country, and then riots. As a result of the riots, 230 people died (including representatives of law enforcement agencies), more than three thousand were detained. This prompted Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to transform the political structure of Kazakhstan. Heaped active reforms designed to reduce presidential power and strengthen parliament. In particular, the president can no longer be elected for more than two terms in a row, but this term has increased to 7 years. The reforms also focused on human rights.
And on November 20, 2022, new snap elections were held. And Tokaev again won them by a huge margin. He had no real competitors.
Tokayev was a member of Nazarbayev’s cabinet and his henchman. In many ways, he was a protege of the first president, and initially they were on excellent terms. The successor in 2019 actively indulged the cult of personality of his predecessor, and in his honor he renamed the capital and established a public holiday. Nazarbayev received a national award.
In the future, relations first cooled, then changed course to the exact opposite: Tokayev began to actively debunk the personality cult of Nazarbayev. In 2022, references to the special status of the first president were removed from the constitution (and the former head of state was also deprived of the status itself). The capital got its name back, the public holiday disappeared. Nazarbayev’s henchmen have lost their seats.
Similar dynamics can be traced in relations with Vladimir Putin. The Russian president congratulated his Kazakh counterpart on his assumption of office. But in 2022, Tokayev publicly protested against the former ally. The reason is called the military operations in Ukraine and the unflattering statements of the head of the Russian Federation.