Presidency institute’s modernization peculiarities in Kazakhstan

Talking about presidency institute in the Republic of Kazakhstan, it’s necessary to point out that in the highest organs’ system, according to the Constitution adopted in 1995, - president is the highest official from the stand point of law/ This political institute signifies that it is President who guarantees state’s integrity, optimum and balanced functioning of legislative, executive and judicial powers and will be an arbitration in case of controversy (controversies). Presidential system is of paramount importance as it was and is that contributes to forming unified, stable executive power, which in its turn, carries out President’s policy.

According to the Constitution of 1995 President of the Republic of Kazakhstan is State’s Head, its highest official who specifies the main directions of state’s domestic and foreign policies and represents Kazakhstan in the country and international relations.

Considering presidential institute’s forming process in Kazakhstan, we are inevitably to come back to the recent past of our state. Exactly in the time of the Soviet regime post of President was introduced in the political system that took a leading place in the system of political institutes of sovereign Kazakhstan in the process of evolution [1].

This article deals with presidential institute’s forming process as a political institute in the period of moderniza-tion and formation of democratic institutions, democratization of the national policy in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

So, at the initial period of its independence the Republic of Kazakhstan came into the most difficult period of transformation relating all sides of the state’s activity. It broached the subjects of developing and improving all the branches of power, and first of all, executive one. The typical sign of that period was a gap between new tendencies of progress and keeping of the most features of the Soviet system. It was necessary to find new configuration of powers, their correlation and spheres of responsibility. At the beginning the changes have affected the executive power which expressed itself in the fact that post of President was introduced, that was characteristic to all the republics of the Soviet Union at that time.

Post of the President of the Kazakh SSR had been established on April the 24, 1990 earlier than institutionally and officially registered and having legislative basis institute of presidency. The first nation-  wide elections of the country’s President took place only on December 1.1991. Post of President had existed before the elections, actually named differently for the institute of the former executives – the first secretary of the central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. At that period the conception “presidency” was not accepted as an institute, but as declaration of independent relations with Moscow and, in the end, it was claim for sovereignty in some extent.

In its turn, introduction of President’s post affected the authorities of the Supreme Soviet’s Chairman, who lost his status of the highest official, representing KazSSR in the country and in the international relations. In connection with it, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet was deprived of the right to sign laws and submitting reports about the situation in the country, the authorities in the sphere of cadre policy and ceremonial duties where considerably reduced, reflecting processes of differentiation of the powers of branches and tendency of Presidential republic’s formation [2].

Further development of political system democratization process from November 1990 up to December 1991 was reflected in the distinct consolidation (in the Declaration on State sovereignty of the KazSSR) of the principle of state power’s division into legislative, executive and judicial, according to it, legislative power is carried out by the Supreme Soviet, President is the head of the Republic and possesses the highest practical  and executive power, and the highest judicial power belongs to the Supreme Court of the KazSSR. Normative consolidation of the regulation took place in November 1990 [3].

In connection with the fact, that the Supreme Soviet couldn’t consolidate the society and power, making strict and effective powerful vertical as President did, initiative of state and political paradigm domination (since 1991) gradually passed into the hands of executive power which was headed by the head of the State.

Elections were the first changes, having affected the structure of the power of the Republic. They  transferred it from the Soviet one to the new, specific for the period of the “Soviet Union’s disintegration”.

“Direct elections have changed the head of the State’s power’s legislative system. President’s vote of confidence, being independent then, didn’t depend on the will of the highest representative organ. So, holding the posts of the State’s head and executive power in the course of direct elections in December 1991 let us make a conclusion that the transition from half parliament government to the presidential system has taken place” [4].

Choice of the government form is natural and it’s stipulated by necessity of having powerful and consolidated system of state power, being subjected to no hesitation, caused by possible social and economical crisis and discrepancies between branches of power. Only President’s status as a supreme arbiter ensured their coordinated functioning and under existing conditions in Kazakhstan.

Changing President’s status, if we consider it according to two Constitutions provisions, having been adopted in the independent Kazakhstan, was held evolutionally and showed the distinct tendency to the widening of his authorities. In the political system of the Republic the institute of the presidency became the main centre of power among the other political subjects of the country.

In general, three periods of presidency institute in Kazakhstan may be pointed out:

The first period (1990-1991), when presidential status was, on the whole, the declaration of independent Republic’s relations with the center and it hasn’t been yet established as a specific institutional form.

The second period (1991-1995) – President is the Head of the state and he is at the head of the executive power’s system.

The third period (since 1995) – The status of the Head of the State acquires a new significance, as a guarantor of the coordinated functioning of all the branches of power; at the same time he controls the  activities of the executive power [5].

The Republic of Kazakhstan’s President’s status, defined by the functioning Constitution, consists of three important constituent parts: first of all, President is the Head of the State; secondly – President is an arbitrator, insuring interaction and coordinated work of state organs, a guarantor of the Constitution; thirdly, president holds decisive position relating to the executive power. Such kind of status let President play a key role in modernization of political system and transition processes of the Kazakhstani society.

Specific status of President of Kazakhstan is caused, thus, not only by the necessity to strengthen  President’s power that was natural due to political instability, weakness and amorphousness of the legislative power. The par-ticular status of Presidential power is coordination of its activities in the course of solving the national problems.

In this case it’s necessary to dwell on the fact that Kazakhstan’s society – is a mixture of various modes of life and social relations. Here laws of several civilizations and formations, are being employed which are deformed. Thus, President’s form of governing and all the local verticals, first of all, were aimed to support interethnic consent. President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbaev was an initiator of the policy like that. With the passage of over ten years of independent development the Head of the State pointed out that keeping of stability in interethnic relations one of the main achievements in the period of that time.

“Multi-national peoples of Kazakhstan have passed the difficult historical test. In our country in the period of our independent development there wasn’t any conflict on national, religious grounds. And it is the main thing, and all of us should do our best to keep and strengthen a secular democratic state in the future. Stability in policy and consolidation of the society is a core of the policy” [7].

Hereafter, in modernization process, on the eve of ending transition period in Kazakhstan, it was necessary to change the form of presidential governing, and namely, strengthening seriously the representative power’s role. As it is known, it is inevitable conflict’s emergence between old traditional political institutes and new modernized ones in the course of political progress, thus the main characteristics of them are legitimacy and efficiency that don’t break traditional and deeply rooted national ideals. In connection with it N.A. Nazarbaev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan emphasized, that “in the political sphere, modernization is supposed, first of all, to realize two problems: civil society’s and practical people’s institutes of state independence formation” [8].

On May 18, 2007 Parliament adopted Law а the Republic of Kazakhstan “On submitting amendments and supplements to the Constitution” which means further modernization of political and law system of  the Republic of Kazakhstan, strengthening the role and authority of the representative power. On the whole, amendments and supplements were submitted to four laws: “On President of the RK”, “On Parliament and status of its deputies”, “On government”, “On elections” [9].

On the base of amendments, submitted to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, it was carried out transition from president’s form of governing to presidential and parliamentary form of governing, accordingly making over certain authorities of the State’s Head to Parliament, re-distribution of a number of authorities, duties for the benefit of Parliament. The characteristic features of presidential and parliamentary governing are that it possesses certain characteristics of two forms of governing and unites them, which totally give new  quality. In such republics the role of President is great, but parliament’s authorities are also going  to  strengthen.

Constitutional reforms stand for Kazakhstan’s entering the new historical period. President Nursultan Nazarbaev, becoming an author of innovative amendments to the Constitution of the State confirmed his status of an outstanding reformer. It is evidence of our state’s Head’s large-scale and strategic thinking, his far sightedness, fortitude, intending will. According to new modernization model of the country, which was proposed by the leader of the state Kazakhstan will be developed by political; reforms which will meet the requirements of the world requirements, nevertheless, having its own image.

Presidential and parliamentary form of government’s introduction became an important event in the  political life of Kazakhstan. Amendments to the Constitution rose political prestige of not only the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, but of the state and abroad that’s especially vital in connection with the Republic of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in OSCE.

Shortly speaking, N.A. Nazarbaev, President of Republic emphasized on this occasion, at the joint sitting of the two Chambers of Parliament, “Republic will remain as presidential, but with essential widening of Parliament’s authorities” [10].

Strategy “Kazakhstan-2030” also attaches great significance to the state’s national policy formation of important value is the second long-termed priority, which is aimed to stability in home policy and  consolidation of the society. Having various aspects, the society’s consolidation has its main objective, that is, formation of unified civilization for the representatives of various ethnic and confessional groups.

It is confirmed by the fact that peoples of Kazakhstan live in peace and accord, consolidation of citizens of all the nations. It’s proved by establishing in 1995 Assembly of the peoples of Kazakhstan on the initiative of the State’s Head. It is the institute of wide law status in the sphere of national policy. Its establishment was caused by the aspiration to harmonization of social relations, keeping interethnic and civil consent in the republic.

Thus, introduction of the President’s post in Kazakhstan was connected with emerging of new directions in social and economical development of the republic. Profound reforms in all spheres of the state governing was about to happen. As it is known, at the time of social and political modernization the role of state governing is to rise abruptly, which has to react to many challenges and threats against political stability. The state itself steps forward as an organizer of modernization, its main dealer.

От the hole it is a natural conclusion from the world civilization experience, at the time of deep depressions and shocks objective necessity emerges surely in raising regulative influence of the state, which is necessary, first of all, for the support to find the way out of crisis, stabilization of social and economical, social and political situation. In its turn, administration of the country with N.A. Nazarbaev at the head orientated to the more far-sighted perspective, choosing the way to the democratization of the national policy.



  1. The Constitution of Kazakhstan – Almaty,
  2. Review of social and political situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan in 1991-2001 // – №1. – 2002. – p 4.
  3. On establishment of the post of KazSSR’s president and submission of amendments and supplementary to the Constitution (Basic Law) of the The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic of April 24, 1990. – P2. p. 8-10.
  4. Mashan M., Galyamova D., Tulegulova A. Transformation of the system of Governing in Kazakhstan // Sayasat. №10. – 1998. – 30.
  5. Review of social and political situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan in 1991-2001. №1. – 2002. –
  6. Kasymbekov B. Institute of Presidency as an instrument of political modernization. Author’s abstract dissertation on doctor of political sciences. – Almaty, 2002. – p. 30.
  7. Nazarbaev A. Kazakhstan-2030. Prosperity, security and improvement of all Kazakhstanese welfare. President’s Address to the people of Kazakhstan. – Almaty, 1997.
  8. Nazarbaev N.A. “At the Threshold of the XXI century”. – Almaty. – 1996 – p.
  9. The Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan: official text with amendments and supplementary of May 21, 2007 №254 – III Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan. – Almaty: Zheti Zhargy, 2002. – p. 128
  10. Nazarbaev N.A. New period of democratization in Kazakhstan – rapid development of the free democratic society. Speech of the President of the RK N.A. Nazarbaev at the joint sittings of the Parliament’s Chambers Kazahstanskaya pravda – 2007. – May 17. – p.
Year: 2012
City: Almaty