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British analytical centre focuses on Kazakhstan’s achievements since Independence

LONDON – A discussion themed “30 years of independence: Kazakhstan’s past and future” was hosted in a hybrid format at The Henry Jackson Society, a UK analytical centre.

The keynote speakers were Erlan Idrissov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK, Colonel Bob Stewart MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kazakhstan, as well as Dr Zulfiya Suleimenova, member of the Mazhilis (lower chamber) of the Parliament of Kazakhstan. Sam Ashworth-Hayes, Director of Studies at The Henry Jackson Society moderated the event.

Ambassador Idrissov talked about the main achievements Kazakhstan has made over the 30 years of Independence. He highlighted that from a young state, Kazakhstan has transformed into an authoritative member of the international community with a confidently developing modern economy, a stable domestic policy and a consistent foreign agenda.

Colonel Stewart MP also focused on Kazakhstan’s achievements over the 30 years of Independence in the socio-economic and socio-political spheres. He praised the ongoing consistent reforms and the country’s efforts to protect human rights and strengthen peace and stability in Central Asia. He also stressed the exceptional role of the Astana International Financial Centre in attracting investment into the region.

30 Years of Independence: Kazakhstan's Past and Future - Henry Jackson  Society

He noted that Kazakhstan has confidently passed through profound and positive changes and political and economic liberalisation. Colonel Stewart MP concluded with stating the importance of further strengthening comprehensive ties with Kazakhstan, a country that is considered the United Kingdom’s reliable friend and promising trading partner.

Dr Suleimenova spoke in detail about each of the stages of the ongoing political reforms in Kazakhstan aimed at the further consistent democratisation and modernisation of the political system.

“In June 2019, we held presidential elections where President Tokayev was elected as the new President. He emphasised that his political approach would be based on continuity-justice-progress formula, later supplemented by the concept of ‘strong president – influential parliament – accountable government.’ In the last two years of his presidency, he put forth four packages of political reforms that are aimed at phased implementation of political modernisation in Kazakhstan,” she stressed.

She highlighted such reforms as establishing the National Council of Public Trust; establishing a 30% quota for women and young people to be included in political parties’ candidates lists; decriminalising libel; lowering the threshold for political parties to enter Parliament from 7% to 5%; joining the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, thus abolishing the death penalty; and strengthening the role of the Ombudsman for Human Rights.

Other conference participants also shared their views on Kazakhstan’s achievements over the years of Independence and noted the country’s successes in the international arena and its active participation in modern regional and global processes.

The participants discussed the current state and future of Kazakhstan-UK partnership and trade cooperation, in particular, the upcoming signing of a bilateral agreement on strategic partnership and cooperation in 2022.

The hybrid conference was attended by parliamentarians, journalists, and experts from leading UK analytical and research centres.

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