Pre-term elections as a way of maintaining power?

  • 14.11.2011
  • Author:

On 10.11.2011, the deputies of the 4th convocation of the Majilis Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan appealed to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan requesting the dissolution of Parliament.

The Deputy of the Majilis, Nurtai Sabilyanov on behalf of 53 members of the Chamber voiced an appeal to the President of Kazakhstan with a request to approve the decree «On the dissolution of the lower chamber of  parliament of the 4th convocation and the Maslikhats and calling for early elections of deputies of the Majilis Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Maslikhats – the representative bodies in the regions, as well as the anouncement of  early elections. In the Majilis there is the total of 105 deputies.

After consultations with the chairmen of the Chambers of the Parliament of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan may issue a decree on dissolution of the Majilis Parliament of the 4th convocation and  calling for early elections of the deputies of the Majilis Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

According to various forecasts, elections may be held on or around the 12th of January 2012. The recent tragic events in Taraz are among the factors that may have a significant influence on the decision and the appointment of the election date.

In these circumstances, holding early elections with elimination of political opponents or dissidents is an attempt  to retain power by the ruling elite.

At the same time the European Union should maintain an unwavering  policy and demand, before signing a new agreement on cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan, compliance with its past commitments and obligations to the international community. The upcoming elections should be the determinant and the indicator of maturity of the ruling elites for the transformation of the political system of Kazakhstan, illustrating their ability to engage in dialogue with their political opponents in order to avoid radicalization of the society and destabilization of the region.

 Excerpts from the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Elections to the Parliament:

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the supreme representative body of the Republic which performs legislative functions. The Parliament has two chambers: the Senate and the Majilis, acting on a permanent basis for a term of office of members of the Senate - six years, term of office of deputies of the Majilis - five years. From the contents of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 49, subparagraph 5) of Article 55 and Article 63 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, it follows that the discontinuation of the Majilis term of office is possible under the following circumstances:

• completion of the constitutional term of office;

• pre-term expiry after the dissolution of the Parliament or the Majilis Parliament.

Pre-term expiry of powers of the Majilis Parliament may ensue as a result of the dissolution of the Parliament or the Majilis Parliament. Thus, in paragraph 5 of Article 52 of the Constitution  it is stipulated that "the powers of members of Parliament and the Majilis Parliament shall terminate upon the dissolution of the Parliament or, respectively, of the Majilis Parliament". Thereforethe dissolution of the Parliament  the premature termination of Parliamentary powers in general, or, of the Majilis Parliament.

In accordance with the new paragraph 1 of Article 63 (as amended by the Act of the Republic of Kazakhstan of 21.05.07, № 254-III) of the Constitution, the President may dissolve Parliament or the Majilis Parliament, subject to mandatory constitutional procedures - consultation with the Chairmen of the Parliament and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. This means that the President of the Republic has the exclusive right to dissolution  of Parliament. The Parliament and the Majilis Parliament may not only be dissolved  in times of emergency or martial law but additionally in the last six months of the President’s powers, as well as within one year after the previous dissolution (paragraph 2 of Article 63 of the Constitution).

When dissolving the Parliament, pursuant to subparagraph 2) of Article 44 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic shall declare extraordinary elections to the Parliament of the Republic and its chambers. Paragraph 3 of Article 51 of the Constitution stipulates that the pre-term elections of deputies of Parliament shall be held within two months from the date of the premature termination of powers of the Parliament or the Majilis Parliament.

Under the current electoral legislation, ordinary elections of deputies shall be announced by the President not less than five months prior to their scheduled date and shall be held no later than two months before the end of the term of office of the deputies of the Majilis.

Extraordinary elections of deputies shall be appointed by the President in conjunction with his decision to terminate the arliamentary right to govern  and shall be held within two months from the date of early termination of powers of the Parliament or the Majilis Parliament.

The date of the election of the deputies of the Majilis set  by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, may not coincide with the day of elections of the deputies of the Majilis elected by party lists. Elections of the new Parliament may not coincide with the ordinary elections of the President of the Republic.

More on this topic: Kazakhstan, Majilis