Parliamentary Elections, Government Reshuffles and Protectionism in Kazakhstan

On 10 January 2021, Kazakhstan held elections to its lower house of parliament (Majilis) and regional parliaments (Maslikhats). The Majilis elections are part of an ongoing transition of power in Kazakhstan which was activated following the resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev in March 2019 (Nazarbayev turns 80 in 2021). Other elements included the 2019 presidential elections (won by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the politician hand-picked by Nursultan Nazarbayev as his successor) and the election of village heads (akims) scheduled for 2022.

The Majilis’ party structure remained unchanged, with three parties making it into Parliament: incumbent ruling party Nur Otan (71.09%), the Democratic Party of Kazakhstan Ak Zhol (10.95%) and the People’s Party of Kazakhstan (9.10%). Both the EU and the OSCE expressed concern over the validity of the results – citing the lack of fair competition and restriction of media and other freedoms from opposition parties.

The Government formally resigned following the election, yet so far there has been no major Cabinet reshuffle; 20 of the 22 ministers have been reappointed to their previous roles. Importantly, both Askar Mamin and Nurlan Nigmatullin remain as Prime Minister and Lower House Speaker, respectively.

To learn more about these elections, the ongoing transition of power in Kazakhstan, and how the possible scenarios of further developments may affect government relations functions, please click for the full memo here.

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