By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--As Malaysians cast their votes on Nov. 19, the citizens of Kazakhstan will participate in their own elections the very next day on Nov. 20, with much anticipated presidential elections set to demonstrate the country’s maturation as a  democracy.

The early presidential elections will be the seventh presidential election held since independence, the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Malaysia organised a round table conference with Malaysian representatives including those from the media.

Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Malaysia, Bulat Sugurbayev chaired the meeting, giving those in attendance a deep overview of the development of democracy in the country.

In September 2022, the parliament approved to change the term length from five to seven years while lowering the amount of terms to one.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a decree on constitutional amendments on Sept. 17 which include the term limit and a new reform package that further ‘decentralises and distributes’ power between the government, ministries and regional heads (akimats).

These are aimed to create a mixed electoral system, simplified party registration procedures and increased regional independence. Tokayev has initiated the democratic process of expanding the powers of parliament while limiting the powers of the president.

The country of 19 million people is also diversifying its ties with strategic international partners, particularly with the U.S. and China. The former is one of the largest investors in the Kazakh economy, with a direct investment inflow of about US$1.9 billion in the first quarter of 2022 — nearly twice as much as the same period in 2021.

China is also very active in Kazakhstan. It is no coincidence that Kazakhstan was the first country that Chinese President Xi Jinping, who had not left China for more than two years, visited ahead of his attendance at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s summit in Samarkand.