Kazakhstan votes on constitutional reforms

MOSCOW -- Kazakhstani voters voted Sunday for proposed constitutional amendments.

Kazakhstan votes on constitutional reforms

MOSCOW -- Kazakhstani voters voted Sunday for proposed constitutional amendments. This is an attempt to discredit the legacy of Nursultan Nazarbayev (ex-Soviet republic leader) who ruled the country for over three decades.

The President Kassym Jomart Tokayev called the referendum after he was elected to power by Kazakhstan's ruling party following violent protests that left over 230 people dead. Protests were sparked in part by an increase in fuel prices but also reflected widespread discontent with the stagnant economy, authoritarian government and general public sentiment.

Tokayev decided to ignore Nazarbayev who had resigned in 2019, but still held powerful positions. Tokayev pledged political reforms in March. These included reducing the power and strengthening the parliament. Tokayev also called for a reduction in government involvement in the economy and aimed to reduce the disparity between the rich and the poor.

There were specific questions about modifications such as banning certain officials from joining political party and prohibiting death penalty. It was largely about Tokayev’s overall course.

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