Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dissolved parliament on 19 January and set snap elections for 19 March. Only two months after an early presidential election, Tokayev said the elections were necessary to keep pace with his reform agenda, but analysts say the moves are instead part of a larger effort to sideline former President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his clan and cement Tokayev’s power.
On 20 November, the Kazakh election commission reported President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was re-elected with 81.31 per cent of the vote. President since 2019, Tokayev faces no tangible opposition in the country’s strictly controlled political and media environment. The OSCE election observation mission reported a peaceful and orderly election day, but that “important safeguards were disregarded and substantial procedural errors and omissions were observed.”
On 27 October the Kazakh legislature approved a bill granting amnesty to over 1,500 individuals charged for their involvement in the dispersion of the mass protests in January 2022 known as ‘Black January.’ The amnesty has been criticized by rights advocates as an attempt to avoid public trials or prosecutions of those responsible for the protests’ violent turn, including law enforcement officers.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called for early presidential elections for November on 2 September. The decision was pitched as a move away from the dominating style of his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, but critics argue Tokayev is abusing democratic processes to further his own legitimacy. See August report for more information.