Kazakhstan’s president dissolved parliament and announced early elections

The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokáyev (PRESS SERVICE OF THE PRESIDENT O/)

The president of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayevdissolved on Thursday the Lower House of the Parliament and announced early legislative elections for March 19.

“I decided to dissolve the seventh legislature” of the Lower House of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and “set early elections (…) on March 19, 2023,” reads a presidential decree.

Tokayev also dissolved the local parliamentswhose deputies are elected by universal suffrage.

The announcement comes four months after his re-election at the head of the largest country in Central Asiain anticipated presidential elections.

It is in line with the constitutional reform of June 2022, which seeks to turn the page on the three decades of government of his predecessor, the omnipotent Nursultan Nazarbayevwho resigned in 2019.

In a message posted on the presidential website, Tokayev said he hoped the early elections would “give new impetus to the modernization” begun last year in the country.

Rich in natural resources and located in the middle of important commercial axes, this old soviet republic In January 2022, he experienced strong protests against the high cost of living.

The demonstrations degenerated into riots and their repression by the authorities left at least 238 dead.

A man walks past a burnt-out car during protests sparked by rising fuel prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan
A man walks past a burnt-out car during protests triggered by rising fuel prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan (PAVEL MIKHEYEV/)

Tokáyev was re-elected without surprises in an early presidential election at the end of November, in which he obtained more than 80% of the vote.

The elections were criticized for the lack of rivals.

After his re-election, Tokayev promised a “new era” in which “all the main institutions of power will be reformed.”

Kazakhstan had toughened the immigration legislation of the country that regulates the rules for the entry and stay of foreigners, as well as their departure, several months after the Central Asian nation faced the mass exodus of russians who fled the partial mobilization decreed in Russia.

The government decree was published this Wednesday on the Kazakhstan legal records portal and will enter into force on January 27.

The main modifications of the immigration legislation refer to the periods of stay allowed for foreigners who arrive in the country.

In particular, the foreigners without visa They will be able to stay in Kazakh territory for up to 30 days from their arrival, for a total of 90 days out of 180, which means that migrants will not be able to stay in Kazakhstan for more than three months in half a year.

Foreign citizens members of the Eurasian Economic Union (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Russia) will be able to stay in Kazakhstan for 90 days in a 180-day period.

This rule repeals the previous one, which allowed foreigners to stay in the country for 90 days, cross the border and re-enter unlimited.

These limitations do not extend to foreigners who have a visa or have received temporary residence.

Caravan of Russian cars of up to 20 kilometers, by bicycle or on foot to flee the country
Caravan of Russian cars of up to 20 kilometers, by bicycle or on foot to flee the country (VANO SHLAMOV /)

As reported last December by the Kazakh Ministry of Labor and Social Security, after the announcement of the partial mobilization decreed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last September, Kazakhstan experienced the largest mass exodus of Russians in its history.

About 900,000 Russians who fled to avoid being called up to fight in Ukraine arrived in the country.

Of those, about a third still remain in the Central Asian nation.

This is a considerable number, considering that the total population of Kazakhstan amounts to 20 million people.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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