Kazakstan Table of Contents
Government: Strong presidential system, prescribed in 1993 constitution and reinforced by dismissal of parliament and beginning of direct presidential rule by Nursultan Nazarbayev, 1995. Presidential election delayed by referendum until 2000. New constitution, approved in August 1995 referendum, mandates bicameral parliament and increases presidential power. Parliamentary election for both houses held December 1995. Nineteen provinces and city of Almaty run by executives appointed by national president.
Politics: Close government control of legal political parties has not prevented numerous groups from forming. Participation in 1994 and 1995 parliamentary elections limited to approved parties, but 1994 parliament strongly opposed many of Nazarbayev's programs. Election of 1994 declared invalid, and parliament dissolved in early 1995. Nazarbayev's People's Unity Party retained plurality in 1995 elections. Several Kazak and Russian nationalist parties with small representation in govern-ment.
Foreign Policy: Post-Soviet broad search for international support, role as bridge between East and West, under personal direction of President Nazarbayev. Critical balance of Russian and Chinese influence, careful reserve toward Muslim world outside Central Asia; proposal of Euro-Asian Union to replace CIS, 1994. Active diplomatic role in CIS crises (Nagorno-Karabakh, Tajikistan).
International Agreements and Memberships: Member of United Nations (UN), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Partnership for Peace, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Asian Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, CIS, International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
Data as of March 1996