New Delhi [India]/Astana [Kazakhstan], Jan.31 : Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev has announced plans to devolve some of his powers to the country's parliament and cabinet.
In a brief televised address to the nation in the week gone by, President Nazarbayev said the proposed constitutional reforms would allow parliament to form a cabinet which would in turn have more powers to manage the economy.
In his televised address, President Nazarbayev said, "The issue is redistribution of powers between branches of government.
A special working group was created in accordance with my decree. The group has done a great job. I was briefed on the work accomplished by the group. The upcoming reform is based on the principles of our development and the principles of modern development in general." "The quintessence is that the President delegates some powers to the parliament and the government.
Vertical separation of power was necessary to us in the course of overcoming the enormous difficulties of state formation.
This principle justified itself. All our achievements were accomplished precisely under this system. This reform is aimed at improving the efficiency of the executive system. We have built a new state, a new economy, and a new society," he said further. Under the current constitution, President Nazarbayev appoints all cabinet members. His ruling Nur Otan party dominates parliament which has no serious opposition to it. He said in his speech that in times to come, his focus would be on strategic matters, foreign policy and national security, besides serving as an arbiter between the various branches of the government.
"The speed and complexity of social processes are growing in Kazakhstan. Already today we have to think how to respond to global and regional challenges that will inevitably take place in the coming future.
The essence of the proposed reform is a serious redistribution of power, democratization of the political system as a whole.
Under the new conditions, the President's priorities will include strategic functions, the role of supreme arbiter in the relations between the branches of government," he said.
"The head of state will also focus on the foreign policy, national security and the country's defence.
The role of the government and the parliament will increase significantly. This work will be conducted in two key areas. First of all, it is necessary to transfer a significant part of powers in regulation of social and economic processes from the President to the Government and other executive bodies.
The government, ministries and akimats (regional executive offices) will be fully responsible for this," he added.
"Delegation of powers can be achieved through changes in the relevant laws. About 40 functions can be transferred either to the government or the parliament. Government will introduce these amendments as a matter of priority to the Parliament for adoption before the end of the current session.
Second, a more difficult task is to balance the relationship between the branches of government on the constitutional level.
It is important to strengthen the role of Parliament in the formation of government, to enhance the responsibility of the Cabinet before the deputies," President Nazarbayev said.
"The point of the proposed reform is in a serious redistribution of powers and democratization of the political system as a whole," he said.
"The proposed program will help to solve three problems. Firstly, it will help to ensure stability of the political system for years to come. Secondly, increasing the role of the Government and the Parliament will provide a more effective mechanism of response to modern challenges....Third, there is no universal model of government in the world.
We are all in search of it. We have never engaged in copying foreign models of government. We have been trying to find our own, often unique solutions, although there are questions where we follow international experience.
Our proposed reform is based primarily on our own experience and needs of Kazakhstan," he added. President Nazarbayev's office said in a statement the draft reform package would be published on Thursday for a month-long "nationwide discussion" before being handed over to parliament.
President Nazarbayev has run the nation of 18 million people bordering Russia and China with a firm hand since 1989, first as regional Communist Party chief and then, after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, as the president of a newly independent nation.