The first Sunday of November marked a significant event for the Kazakhstani governance system – the election of district akims and city akims of regional significance. This was preceded by extensive conceptual work at the level of President K. Tokayev, central and local executive authorities, legislative activities of deputies, as well as expert discussions, including the participation of civil activists. These elections signify another stage in the decentralization of the power structure, the strengthening of accountability of regional leaders, and the increased role of local akimats. These outcomes should also be associated with the strengthening of overall civic political activity, which will contribute to the effective development of regions.
It is important to emphasize separately that these elections demonstrated the political maturity of our civil society, ensuring voter turnout in the selected “pilot” areas and competitiveness among candidates. The electorate’s positive attitude towards these elections is entirely expected, as the residents of districts and cities of regional significance are choosing those whom they can directly hold accountable for the situation in the region in the future. This perception of responsibility will play a crucial role in strengthening the trend towards regional development.
This kind of decentralization of power will serve as an incentive not only for the electorate but also for potential talented administrators. District akimats, for example, present an attractive arena for realizing political ambitions. This is explained not only by the increasing managerial autonomy but also by the newly introduced economic independence of district akims. In the future, local authorities will not need to constantly look “upwards” when making decisions of regional significance, thus expediting processes, which, in turn, will enhance citizens’ trust in local executive bodies. The increased attractiveness of the district akim’s position also leads to active participation in elections by independent candidates, and in the coming years, their numbers are likely to increase. This will be an additional factor in promoting pluralism in local governance and strengthening democratic values. Such a “surge of democracy” at the grassroots level of government should contribute to the even development of civic political activity and reduce the gap between regions and the center. In turn, this will significantly reduce the level of social tension in specific regions and overall strengthen the regional executive system.
Head of the Department for the Study of Electoral Processes, KazISS under the President of the RK