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

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Referendum as a form of political participation and social consensus


The Republican referendum is an event of historic proportions for our country. For the first time in many years, citizens can directly, not indirectly, determine the course of the country’s development. In fact, Kazakh society is now choosing in what direction it will develop in the near future. Staying away from this crucial political event of the country is the same as showing civic infantilism, that is, fleeing from responsibility.

Participation in the popular vote is a manifestation of an active political culture and a mature civic consciousness. Citizens thus directly participate in the country’s political process and demonstrate their attitude toward the proposed changes. As an institution of direct democracy, the referendum is practiced in many countries of the world. Perhaps the most representative country in this regard is Switzerland, which, for historical reasons, some experts call “the mother of the modern referendum. In Switzerland, the referendum is one of the supporting structures of consensual democracy.

As we can see from the interim data, today the people of Kazakhstan also demonstrate a high degree of collegiality and unity in making a significant decision for the whole country. Thus, the national referendum lays the foundations for the formation of new rules of political participation and decision-making, the goal of which is to achieve public consensus.

Gulmira Tukanova,

Senior Research fellow of KazISS under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

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