On the first Sunday of summer, the citizens of the country made an important choice for themselves. By the will of the population, the constitutional reform has defined the specific contours of political changes in society for the near future.
It should be noted that the reform paradigm was outlined in the first month of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's presidency. On June 12, 2019, the Head of State signed a Decree on the establishment of the National Council of Public Trust under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The political will of the President launched a new communicative model in which society and the state had to find mechanisms of interaction. Since the first meetings of the NCPT, as an advisory structure, it has initiated several packages of successful socio-political transformations. The creation of the National Kurultai under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan became a logical step towards the initiative to form a constructive dialogue between the government and society. At the same time, this is evidence of the accumulation of age-old traditions of representation and another message to the self-organization of society.
And already in September 2019, in his Address to the People of Kazakhstan «Constructive public dialogue is the basis of stability and prosperity of Kazakhstan» the Head of State outlined the vector of modernization of socio–political relations. The conceptual attitude of the President concluded in the formulation that «successful economic reforms are no longer possible without the modernization of the socio-political life of the country», determined the logic, ideals and norms of subsequent reforms.
An important step of modernization was the reform of public administration in the context of the implementation of the concept of a «Listening State». The practical implementation of the core idea of the concept, based on the principles of prompt and effective response to all constructive requests of citizens, made it possible to establish a discourse between the state apparatus and the public. In this regard, the creation of a Department under the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to monitor the consideration of appeals had a positive effect in the course of building a new communication channel. The construction of the «listening state» has outlined a positive contour for the optimal use of the existing digital infrastructure. Facebook Instagram, Twitter and other social networks have significantly expanded their involvement in public discourse by civil servants and government agencies in the process of their relationship with society.
The previous changes in public administration and the service mechanisms that formed significantly contributed to the promotion of the «Listening state». The receipt of public services by the population on the principle of «one window» through the popular e-gov platform and the PSC system has formed a positive vision and expectations among the population. However, at the same time, it should be noted that a far from unflattering picture of reality has also been exposed. This has become another incentive for the objective need for reforms.
The reforms of the President actualized the need to include citizens in the process of making managerial decisions. The direct elections of mayors of rural districts initiated by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in 2021 were an important stage in stimulating the political activation of the population. The decentralization of power that has begun in the country has become an important trigger for the renewal of the entire system of public administration. Recently, within the framework of the adopted constitutional amendments, akims of the newly created regions were appointed to the posts. For the first time, all local representative bodies (district, city and regional levels) were given the opportunity to actually determine the head of the region. It is obvious that the President is consolidating the institutional environment of the country's governance, which will be based on a citizen of Kazakhstan.
Naturally, political changes will lead to serious transformations in the system of economic relations. Demonopolization of entire sectors of the economy will significantly develop small and medium-sized businesses, which will strengthen and expand the middle class.
The course of political and economic reforms of the Head of State is focused on strengthening the institution of competition. Addressing the people of Kazakhstan in March of this year, the President said: “It is important to ensure fair and open competition, to permanently eradicate all artificial monopolies both in the economy and in politics. The growth of the welfare of the people is possible only in conditions of genuine competition. The management system focused on over-concentration of powers has already lost its effectiveness. It is not capable of consolidating civil society with its diversity of views and beliefs”.
The proposed conceptual reforms will be successful if the citizens of the country launch internal self-organization. In other words, a clear message line is being built to a society of deliberative democracy. And only a civilly responsible society is able to put forward constructive demands on the authorities and become a real party to the dialogue. The public's understanding of the stated trajectory of reforms is an important task that both civil servants and civil society have to solve.