Kazakhstan to vote on proposed constitutional reforms

MOSCOW — Voters in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan voted on Sunday on proposed constitutional changes that are seen as an attempt to reject the legacy of former strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev, who led the ex-Soviet republic for three decades.

The referendum was called by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who was installed by Kazakhstan’s ruling party in January after violent demonstrations left more than 230 dead. The protests were fueled by a sharp rise in fuel prices, but reflected widespread public discontent with a stagnating economy and authoritarian government.

Tokayev moved on to Nazarbayev, who had resigned in 2019 but continued to hold powerful positions. In March, Tokayev promised political reforms, including reducing the power of the presidency and strengthening parliament. He also called for reducing government involvement in the economy and bridging the gap between rich and poor.

The referendum included specific questions about changes, such as banning the death penalty and banning some officials from joining political parties. But it was broadly about support for Tokayev’s general course.

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