Trend European Desk Head Aynur Gasimova
The national referendum on extending the powers of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, leader of the nation until 2020, is a precedent for countries with a young statehood.
The significant political moment is that the public and parliament made such a proposal.
The presidential elections in Kazakhstan in 2012 can be replaced by a referendum. The president's powers may be extended until 2020. More than 5 million signatures of the minimum required 200,000 were collected in support of the referendum in the country within a few weeks. The Kazakh parliament approved amendments to the Constitution last Friday.
But on Monday, Nazarbayev refused to sign the amendments, and submitted them to the Constitutional Council for consideration.
Supporters of the referendum see no sense in the presidential elections, but there is some sense. First, the outcome of the presidential election is clear. The incumbent president will win because there is no bright alternative to Nazarbayev in the country's political arena yet.
This is evident due to the international context of the president's activity. The country holds a strong position in the world's political arena. In 2010, Nazarbayev managed to gather the presidents and the heads of the governments of the OSCE member-states for the first time in 11 years. Moreover, Kazakhstan first headed this organization in the post-Soviet area. After the chairmanship in the OSCE, the country headed the Organization of Islamic Conference in 2011 and plans to hold a commemorative summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Second, the elections in the former Soviet Union are often the source of instability. The schemes operating in the countries with the old statehood sometimes become detrimental to those gaining democracy recently.
Third, the results of collecting signatures in support of the referendum showed very high activity of citizens and the popularity of this idea. Thus, the required minimum of 200,000 votes exceeded more than 25 times, i.e., almost 60 percent of the electorate voted in favor of a referendum. The figures testify to the fact that a referendum is necessary mainly for Kazakh people. According to the Kazakh Constitution, the only source of power is people. They carry out the will through elections or referendums. The procedure is very close to the election procedure. In this case, people are equally entitled to use them. They are not separate. They do not contradict each other.
By the way, the referendum on the theory of plebiscite democracy, was used throughout history in many countries worldwide. Thus, the referendums on extending the incumbent president's powers were held in the Philippines, Finland and France.
In general, there are more than 30 facts of a referendum on extending the incumbent president's powers. The referendums on extending the incumbent president's powers were held in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Belarus.
A similar referendum was held in Kazakhstan in 1995 when Nazarbayev's powers were extended until 1999. The 70-year-old Nazarbayev has been in power for over 20 years.
The referendum was fully justified. The country has successfully overcome the chaos and devastation. Internal and external policies were determined and implemented. It allowed the country to achieve respect and recognition on the world stage and ensure further sustainable development.
It is not surprising that today Kazakh people do not want any changes. Kazakh people have a strong leader who inspires them confidence in the future.
Nursultan Nazarbayev is the founder of modern Kazakhstan. All are aware of the contribution he has made in establishing the country's independence. It was he who laid the traditions of statehood. Today Nazarbayev has the status of an experienced leader who had managed to build constructive and effective relations with many partners. The major figure of the first president of Kazakhstan is primarily a symbol of sovereignty and independence of the young country.
The factor of the personal responsibility of the Kazakh leader to the people predetermined the major achievements of the state. Those who disagree or doubt in the idea of a referendum in Kazakhstan should think about what is the main leitmotif of supporting the referendum by the absolute majority of the Kazakh population. The main reason for popular support of the referendum is a simple logic. We will have more confidence and peace of mind is the incumbent president Nursultan Nazarbayev remains in power.