Kazakhstan: The parliament is amending the Constitution
Kazakhstan Today news agency reports that the joint meeting of both houses of the parliament of Kazakhstan adopted amendments to the Constitution in the second reading.
The constitutional reforms suggested by the head of state and eagerly accepted by lawmakers include reduction of the term of office for president from seven to five years. This provision will come into force only after 2012, when Nursultan Nazarbayev is out.
Kazakhstan remains a presidential republic but the parliament will wield broader powers soon. It will be enlarged to 154 lawmakers. The president will be able to appoint prime ministers only after consultations with factions of the parliament and only with the consent of the majority. The parliament will form the Constitutional Council, Central Electoral Commission, and Auditing Commission by two thirds.
Nazarbayev suggested abolition of the constitutional ban on state funding of non-governmental organization and asked the parliament to design practical instruments of partial sponsorship of political parties by the republican budget.
Arrests will require a court order. Another amendment dramatically shortens the list of crimes punishable by death.
Nagyz Ak Jol or Democratic Party of Kazakhstan released a statement commenting on a controversial nature of the amendments. As far as the opposition is concerned, establishment of the so called residential qualification is a gross infringement on human rights of whole categories of citizens like Oralmans, Bolashakov followers, diplomats, and so on.