President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s Address to the people of Kazakhstan

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NUR SULTAN: The President of Kazakhstan Kassym Jomart Tokayev addressed the nation on Monday after the holding of referendum. Here is the text of his address “Yesterday a significant historical event took place in our country. Our country has entered a new stage of development. The overwhelming majority of citizens supported the proposed amendments to the Constitution. The referendum was held at a high level. This is confirmed by international and domestic observers. The constitutional reform was discussed with interest in the society. The voting was held in full accordance with the democratic requirements. There was no coercion. The result of the referendum has become a clear symbol of political renewal. Our citizens showed great responsibility and patriotism. We have demonstrated that we are united in building a new and fair Kazakhstan. The constitutional amendments will cardinally transform the foundations of our statehood and give new impetus to the development of our society. I am grateful to all our people for their support and active participation in the referendum. I would also like to thank the citizens and numerous public organizations that participated in explaining the amendments to the Constitution.

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The referendum was an important milestone in the history of our country, showing the solidarity and readiness of the nation for real change. The high turnout was a testament to the maturity and responsibility of our society. I thank all those who came to the polls and supported the changes that have been initiated in the country. Demonstrating true patriotism, you have made a significant contribution to the ongoing development of Kazakhstan. I am grateful to all my fellow citizens who exercised their legal right and expressed their position at this moment of crucial importance for the country. The amendments to the Constitution are not the final stage, but only the beginning of our reforms. We will continue the comprehensive modernisation of the country.

Based on the updated Constitution, we will form a more effective model for the functioning of all government institutions and strengthen the mechanisms of checks and balances between them. Consistent political transformations will contribute to the development of the national economy and strengthen national entrepreneurship. Now we have to form transparent and fair rules of the game in the economy, to reform legislation. It is important to eradicate all artificial monopolies and put up a solid barrier to corruption. 

We must support the initiatives of entrepreneurs, fully protect private property and increase competition. We have a lot of work ahead to really diversify the economy. We must take measures to develop high-yield agriculture and a powerful transport and logistics system, and we must create a digital ecosystem everywhere. 

Labour, knowledge, and civic engagement should become the main drivers of our country’s sustainable development. Only in this way can we create a self-sufficient middle class and an efficient economy. This economy will be aimed at a fair distribution of income, the creation of quality jobs, a steady rise in living standards, and the full self-realisation of all citizens.

We will continue systematic work to completely modernise and de-bureaucratise the state apparatus. We must build an advanced state that meets the expectations and demands of the whole society. The effectiveness of the governance system will be determined by the results achieved. Close cooperation with business, non-governmental organisations, and citizens must become a priority in the work of the state apparatus. This will make it possible to make decisions in the interests of the country and raise the quality of services provided to the population. The work of public servants should become as open and truly accountable to citizens as possible. Public service is a special responsibility to its people, not a place for personal enrichment.

The constitutional reform opens up opportunities to modernise the entire legal sphere. On the basis of the adopted amendments to the Constitution, the Parliament and the Government will have to make appropriate changes in the legislation. It is necessary to develop reforms in Kazakhstan aimed at building effective legal and judicial systems, taking into account international experience. We see growing demand on the part of society and businesses to protect their rights and legitimate interests. Kazakhstan needs a legal system that provides maximum protection of rights and interests of citizens and entrepreneurs. The legislation should not contain norms that impede the stable development of the country. All dubious and not meeting modern requirements norms should be abolished.

We need to review the legislation that has contributed to the concentration of the country’s economic resources in the hands of a small group of individuals and provided them with excessive preferences. In accordance with my decree, an interdepartmental commission on the return of funds illegally withdrawn from the country and the return of illegally privatized assets to state ownership has been established. We will continue our policy of comprehensively strengthening the system of protecting human rights and freedoms. 

As part of the legal reform, the Constitutional Court will be re-established. It is necessary to introduce a mechanism for prompt response to its rulings so that citizens feel the benefits of this very important institution. In the New and Fair Kazakhstan, there is no place for police brutality, incompetent prosecutors and biased judges. Society is waiting for real change from the law enforcement and judicial systems. Concrete solutions on these and other issues of development of the country will be presented in my speech at the opening of the next session of Parliament in September this year.

Our main task is to strengthen our sacred Independence, the unity of the country and social harmony. Reforms are carried out not for the sake of slogans and fine words, but in order to build a New and Fair Kazakhstan. As the saying goes, measure twice and cut once. Our ancestors made the most important decisions in the world. Continuing this glorious tradition, I announced the creation of the National Kurultai. It will be comprised of representatives from all walks of life,  active and respected citizens. The first meeting of the Kurultai will take place in Ulytau, the cradle of our nation. 

Thus, citizens will have more opportunities to take a direct part in the work of the State. Indeed, the fate of our homeland is in the hands of each one of us. We must radically transform the system of social and personal values. Only in this way will we be able to make radical transformations in all spheres. 

The greatest wealth of New Kazakhstan is its people, and our main goal is to create the conditions for a happy life of the people. Each citizen should experience the fruits of political change and economic growth. 

Empty promises and empty words do not lead to anything. The most important for me is concrete work and real change. I will do my utmost to achieve this goal. The results of the referendum open a whole new chapter in the history of our statehood. By making their choice, our people have shown the will to create and the desire for radical change. We still have much to do to develop the country. I am absolutely convinced that together we will certainly achieve our goals.

Today a new era has begun in the history of independent Kazakhstan. May our unity strengthen on this path!

Together we will build a New Kazakhstan!

Together we will make every effort for the prosperity of the New Kazakhstan”