Kazakhstan referendum in June 2022


July 5, 2022

The referendum in Kazakhstan was held on June 5, 2022. The question concerned the adoption of amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The turnout was 68.05%. 77.18% of voters supported the amendments.


In early January 2022, mass protests broke out in the city of Zhangaözen due to the sudden increase in the price of liquefied natural gas. Soon people from all over the country took to the streets and economic demands turned into political ones: the government was dismissed, the right to elect akim (local authorities) was called for, and Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled the country for 29 years, was openly called for. While the protests were suppressed, the president of Kazakhstan, Kasym-Żomart Tokayev, dismissed the government, lowered the prices of liquefied natural gas and foodstuffs, and announced a project to build a "New Kazakhstan", proposing 56 amendments to the Constitution.


Referendum question

On May 5, the referendum question was announced:


According to the authors of the amendments, their aim is to limit the president's powers: the president will not be allowed to join any political parties. The amendments also prohibit this by judges, members of electoral commissions, military personnel, employees of the national security services and law enforcement officials. Members of the president's family are prohibited from holding state and leadership positions in the quasi-public sector. The amendments also provide for a change in the method of election of akims: they will still be appointed by the president, but their appointments will now require the approval of local representative bodies (maslihats). In addition, the amendments exclude from the policy of the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev: although his last presidential term ended in 2019, he actually remained in power until January 2022. The new amendments abolish his status as a "gaff". ).


Out of 11,734,642 people entitled to vote, 7,985,769, ie 68.05%, participated in the referendum. Out of them, 6,163,516 people (77.18%) were in favor of the amendments. 1,490,470 people, i.e. 18.66%, voted against the amendments. The number of ballots in which both answers were selected, i.e. considered valid but not included in the counting of votes, amounted to 1.58%. The number of other invalid votes was 2.58%. The lowest attendance was noted in the separate city of Almaty (32.99%), the highest - in the Turkestan oblast (80.31%). The amendment received the lowest support also among the inhabitants of Almaty (65.22%), and the highest - in the Akmola Oblast (81.98%).