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Kazakhstan’s incumbent president promises constitutional changes, if re-elected

April 26, 2015, 10:30 updated at: April 26, 2015, 10:45 UTC+3 ASTANA
Kazakhstan residents are voting in snap presidential elections on Sunday
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© TASS

ASTANA, April 26. /TASS/. Kazakhstan’s incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev who is running in early presidential elections in the Central Asian Republic on Sunday promised to carry out constitutional changes, if he was reelected.

Kazakhstan residents are voting in snap presidential elections on Sunday, the sixth presidential poll in the modern history of Kazakhstan, which has a population of over 17 million people.

"If Kazakhstan citizens again vest their confidence in me, my first act will be to establish a commission for the implementation of five institutional reforms," Nazarbayev said after he voted at a polling station in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Nazarbayev who has ruled the republic for over 25 years is expected to win a landslide victory at the elections. The other candidates running for the president’s office include member of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan Turgun Syzdykov and Chairman of Kazakhstan’s Trade Union Federation Abelgazi Kusainov.

None of the candidates, except for Nazarbayev, has the experience of participation in the presidential race.

"This commission will have five sub-groups, which will start working immediately," Nazarbayev said, adding Kazakhstan was at the second stage of its development.

"Changes will relate to politics, the economy, society, transparency and openness," the Kazakhstani president said.

According to Nazarbayev, "this work requires making changes to the legislation and even changes in some parts of the constitution."

Five institutional reforms in state governance, the economy and public accord laid the basis for Nazarbayev’s electoral platform.

The first reform envisages "creating a modern, professional and autonomous state mechanism to provide for qualitative implementation of economic programs and the provision of state services."

The second reform implies "measures to ensure the supremacy of law guaranteeing ownership rights, creating conditions for entrepreneurial activity and protection of contractual obligations." The second point of Nazarbayev’s electrical platform should eventually "lay the basis for economic growth."

The third institutional reform is aimed at implementing the program of Kazakhstan’s industrialization and the transition to economic growth based on diversification of industrial sectors.

The fourth reform is devoted to the creation of "a nation of a common future." The reform stresses the need to further strengthen the country’s identity that "should be based on the principle of citizenship."

The fifth reform stipulates measures to create "a transparent and an accountable state," primarily, through "the expansion of the practice of reporting by the heads of state bodies."

The initiative to hold snap elections was put forward in February by the Council of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan. Its address noted that "amid the growing global economic crisis and complex international situation, the initiative to hold elections was the imperative of our time."

"President Nursultan Nazarbayev should be given a new nationwide trust mandate to ensure the country’s successful performance in the period of global trials," it said.

In his electoral platform, Nazarbayev also advocates the expansion of access for Kazakhstan’s entrepreneurs to large regional markets, including the Eurasian Economic Union.

Nazarbayev has traditionally supported further development of cooperation with Russia, both bilateral and through participation in international organizations and projects, above all, the efforts aimed at achieving stronger Eurasian integration.

The voting will last until 8:00 p.m. local time, after which the Central Electoral Commission is required to announce preliminary election results within 48 hours after the polling stations are closed. The official results will be announced no later than May 3.

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