| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Kazakhstan to directly elect hundreds of village mayors for first time

Kazakhstan, has started the first step of its political reform plan, by allowing voters in one-third of Kazakhstan’s rural districts to directly elect their mayors for the first time on Sunday.

More than 2,000 candidates are competing for 729 mayoral seats across the former Soviet republic in a campaign that President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has described as a stepping stone towards electing more senior public officials.

Under Kazakhstan’s current, highly-centralised political system, the president appoints governors of the country’s 14 provinces. They in turn name the mayors of major districts.

Those mayors had until now appointed candidates chosen by the ruling Nur Otan party-dominated local representative bodies to head the smaller rural districts.

Under the new system, however, any citizen aged 25 years and over can run for the position – the lowest in the administrative hierarchy. More than 60 percent of the candidates in Sunday’s vote are running as independents rather than with the backing of a political party.

  • Reuters