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Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies
under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

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Capital Renaming as Result of Civic Participation

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The renaming of the capital city, which was approved today, must be considered in terms of direct participation of the citizens of Kazakhstan. In the public discussion, opinions were divided into two groups for or against the renaming of the city. An online petition was launched among those who supported the return of the former name. To date, more than 200,000 signatures have been collected under the petition. In terms of civil society development, a specific public request was formed. It is worth noting that civil society is increasingly using new formats and platforms for raising topical issues and expressing civic position. If earlier the public participation which did not carry direct material or career benefits was not considered by the population as the preferred social action, today the interest of the population for direct participation in political life of the country is fixed. According to sociological surveys conducted by KazISS under the President of Kazakhstan, 42.2% of Kazakhstan’s citizens believe that government agencies should take into account the needs and requirements of the population in decision-making. That is another positive outcome of renaming the capital is the implementation of the concept of the hearing state, where public requests do not go without attention of the state bodies. In addition to online venues, other channels have also been implemented to enable direct citizen participation in the decision-making process – open NPAs, public councils, etc.

Increased opportunities for civic participation will improve the quality of decisions made, will highlight the most problematic and urgent issues, which in turn will increase the level of public confidence both within society and in political institutions.

Gulnaz Kassimova, senior research fellow at the KazISS under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

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