Kazakhstan can now hold rallies without the permission of the authorities
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev signed three important laws from the package of political reforms put forward within the framework of the National Council of Public Confidence (NNOD). Next in line is the consideration of the parliamentary opposition bill. According to experts, Kazakhstani legislation in the framework of political reforms is becoming the most liberal in the post-Soviet space.
After the quarantine introduced due to the spread of the coronavirus, political life returned to Kazakhstan. On May 25, President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev signed the most anticipated law on rallies, the discussion of which in the republic caused a lot of controversy. However, the wide participation of civil society in the discussion of the bill, according to experts, made it possible to prepare a liberal and progressive document.
Recall that the current law on rallies was adopted in 1995. The reason for his change was the mass actions against the presidential elections held on June 9, 2019. After the inauguration ceremony on June 12, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev announced the need for political modernization of the country. He called on the socio-political forces of Kazakhstan for dialogue and promised to create a new law on rallies that would allow the population to gather and express their opinion, but cautioned that everything illegal would be suppressed.
The law on rallies adopted on May 25, 2020 establishes the notification principle of holding and organizing peaceful assemblies, the mandatory norm for securing venues in the central parts of city districts, and other innovations. True, specialized venues for peaceful assemblies will be determined by the authorities. In addition, Kazakhstanis can now hold solo pickets anywhere, including at government buildings - previously this was strictly prohibited.
The law shortens the list of information that the organizer must indicate in the notification. The deadline for notifying of a meeting, rally or picket was reduced to five business days from 15 proposed by the government. From 10 to 3 working days, the period during which local authorities must respond to a notification has been reduced. The deadline for submitting an application for approval of a demonstration or procession has been reduced from 15 to 10 business days, and the time for its consideration is from ten to seven business days.
In addition, the law signed by the president excludes prohibitions and obligations restricting the activities of journalists. Media representatives are not required to provide photo and video materials from the venue to government agencies.
The head of Kazakhstan also signed laws on political parties and elections, within the framework of which, the registration barrier for parties is reduced two times - it is necessary to collect 20 thousand signatures instead of 40 thousand. A 30% quota is introduced for women and youth in party lists. According to the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Marat Beketaev, firstly, reducing the requirements for registration simplifies the process of creating parties in Kazakhstan. Secondly, the introduction of a quota guarantees equal access for women and youth to the electoral process. “Today, most countries of the world take the necessary measures to guarantee equal access for women and youth to the electoral process. For example, party gender quotas are widespread in Germany, Norway, France, Belgium and are fixed at the level of the election law. Thus, the minister emphasized the proposed norms will allow women to be actively involved in the socio-political processes of the country, "the minister emphasized.
Thus, the adoption of the law on political parties will ensure the further development of the multi-party system, the purpose of which is to involve new political parties in the process of development and adoption of state decisions.
Kazakh political scientist Yerlan Karin noted that the presidential package of political reforms is already at the stage of active implementation. “Not even a year has passed since the creation of the National Council, as the first serious political reforms have already been implemented within its framework. Moreover, members of the National Council participated both at the nomination stage and at all stages of the development and discussion of all key bills. Other laws are coming. Press -The Senate service reported that a bill on parliamentary opposition is being introduced at the upcoming meeting of the House on May 28.