Murat Aytakov (Ashgabat), Vyacheslav Tairov, Botagoz Albigensian (Almaty)
On May 18, Turkmenistan celebrated the 15th anniversary of the country's Constitution. But somehow this holiday looked strange. Its official name was “The Day of Revival, Unity and Poetry of Makhtumkuli Fragi”. There is not a word about the Constitution in the title of the holiday, as if the authorities themselves were embarrassed that this long-suffering document "... was not accidentally adopted on the days when the Turkmen people celebrate the birthday of the great poet ...", as the official Turkmen press wrote. Is it not strange that the basic law of the country is not honored to have a separate holiday, at least a distinguished sound, since it coincided with its adoption and the birthday of the national poet? No, it is not strange. The authorities themselves lost respect for the Constitution a long time ago, it was not for nothing that they themselves copied it for their own needs, just under their whim, which distinguished the late Saparmurat Niyazov. At first, the notion of “republic” was expelled from the official lexicon, although in the first edition of the Constitution it appeared that the presidential republic was a form of government. In fact, from the “republic” it blows Jacobinism, frondism, the power of the Soviets in a pinch, and Niyazov’s idea was completely different. Within a few years, and in order to avoid claims for the restoration of the USSR by the Russian communists, who were marching into power, the status of “permanent positive neutrality” was invented and introduced into the Constitution. An interesting detail, the concept of "neutrality" was proposed and developed by one of the ideologues of the Turkmen authorities of that period, Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov. And after six years, other changes are already being made to the Constitution, insuring the government from attacks like the one that Shikhmuradov himself and his associates organized in 2002. Well, at the end of his reign, Niyazov did not bother at all even to amend the Constitution, but carried out his decisions by voting with a show of hands on the Khalk Maslakhaty, a kind of parody of the People’s Council. And that in order to stand on ceremony, the same People’s Council more than once and not twice begged Niyazov not to even think about any elections, conferring on him the status of a life-long president, once again amended the Constitution and changed the political system.
Yes, and the new authorities, whatever one may say, violated so many articles of the Constitution when inheriting power that it is better not to remember about this very Constitution in general, which they do ... And then! The Speaker of the Parliament, who was supposed to fulfill the duties of the President after Niyazov’s death and was obliged to organize the election of the next President, and without the right to participate in the presidential elections, was arrested, convicted and disappeared in the Turkmen zindan. And the usurpers have legitimized their power ... correctly - by amending the Constitution, inventing a new body - the National Security Council ... By the way, already several people from its first composition are also behind bars, but not even half a year has passed since the incident. So maybe her, this piece of paper ...
Or, Nursultan Nazarbayev too. Just yesterday, he signed amendments to the Constitution of Kazakhstan, which do not limit his right to re-elect as president until, so to speak, physical wear and tear from such re-election ... After all, he was at the funeral of Eternally Great Saparmurat Turkmenbashi just 6 months ago, and came to Turkmenistan and recently. And he was able to make sure that the eternal too die, and all their greatness quickly sweep the heirs out of the vacant premises. Isn’t it better to simply leave, and not to change the constitution for which the president is the guarantor of compliance? And how can one change the constitution of a country, in fact, the state system, without the opinion of the people? And what is the opinion of the “people's choices”, that in the person of the Turkmen Halk Maslahaty, that in the person of Kazakhstan ... and all other Asian parliaments, everyone is well aware. Why, Nursultan Abishevich himself has done such tricks with the extension of his powers more than once or twice. That term of presidency will change, then the point of reference of the presidency will change. His hand - the lord, it is better not to say. And in the neighborhood, Comrade Rahmon (s) in Tajikistan has also extended his powers until 2020, and you can be sure that in 2019 he will also figure out how to change the constitution. After all, any change in it actually nullifies all previous presidential terms. And comrade Karimov decided to forget about the main law, his term was formally over, but something was not heard about the preparations for the presidential elections, neither the candidates, nor the deadlines, they simply forgot about the elections. But there is another extreme in our “Asias”. The circus with the adoption of the three Constitutions for the year, and as separate self-sufficient documents it can cause nothing but bewilderment. The constitutional process in this country is so fast and swift to punish that a natural question arises about the viability of Kyrgyzstan as a state.
That's just how the authorities can demand from citizens to comply with the laws in such a treatment of the Basic Law of the country for their part? Of course, time goes on and requires changes in the laws too, but not such and not in this way, gentlemen ...
Looking from the outside at the Asian reality and comparing it with what is usually called democracy, even with all its multivariance, doubts about the adequacy of understanding by our rulers of temporary reality come to mind. Birds games that our presidents started are more like the antics of the monarchs of the 17th and 18th centuries than the actions of the serious politicians of the 21st century, who are called democrats. Well, judge for yourself. One declares himself the president for life, piles his golden statues, calls the cities and months his name, and his fingers unmasks rings the size of a walnut. The other one is also eccentric, changes his name, and makes others do the same, cancels holidays, hangs a swastika across the country, another erects a monument to Tamerlane, who carved out most of the neighboring nations. Another one, he allowed himself to be re-elected president before losing his pulse. No, to say everything, life-long! No, every time there will be elections! What is the plot, right! Kazakhbashi great and lifelong, point!
And our native presidents began to compete with each other in the length and originality of the standing monuments of independence. “Baiterek” in Astana with a height of 97 meters topped with a ball with a clearly strained ideology, but Ashgabat managed to cope with this in due time, the Independence Monument is not lower there, and this is Turkmenbashi, rotating after the sun. With ideology in this case, everything is in order, for the rotation around its axis, the people called this monument "grill". But Kazakhstan took its toll. With a fright, the Kazakh authorities opened the monument to the independence of Kazakhstan ... in Washington. But Turkmenbashi also knew how to respond to this. Before his death, he ordered to design and build a tower with a height of 400 meters, which his receivers now embody.
By the way, about Washington. Who was there, he saw and knows that the tallest structure there - the Independence Monument ... the Capitol looks more or less solid. But the White House, compared with the palaces of the presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, looks just like a barn. Only here, in this very barn, many of the powerful of this world take their turn, and all sorts of rogues run into the palace Ashgabat with Astana. Yes, and people in the suburbs of Washington do not live in better and worthier than the suburbs of Astana and Ashgabat. So it's not about the length of the towers and monuments.
News number one - in Kazakhstan constitutional reform. Nursultan Nazarbayev began, in his words, to create a presidential-palatomic republic, expanding the composition and powers of the legislature. Meanwhile, the parliament, inspired by such prospects, made a curtsey in return to the president - in an Asian way, generously and with a broad gesture, offered to allow the first president to run for the highest office of the country an unlimited number of times. That is, in fact, gave Nursultan Nazarbayev a life-long presidency. It is noteworthy that, at the same time, a restriction is imposed on all others by the parliament - “the same person cannot be elected president more than two times in a row”, and the presidency is reduced from 7 to 5 years. In general, thanks to the reform, Kazakhstan acquires a stronger parliament, a more politicized government, but still remains with its first and only president.
For several years, the need for political reform has been discussed in Kazakhstan. First, in the framework of the Permanent Conference on Democratization, then in the National Commission for Democratization, then in the State Commission on Democratization. The names changed, the meaning remained - representatives of the state offered to choose “all its potential” from the Constitution and only after that to make any changes. Forecasts, even cautious, when the potential is selected, did not dare to voice. The opposition demanded quick reforms that would change the existing political system.
Everything changed dramatically at the beginning of this year, when Nazarbayev dissolved the state democratization commission, and invited some of its members to a working group, which was engaged in finalizing proposals for amending the Constitution. Apparently, even then, not all of its members could assume that amendments to the Basic Law would be adopted so swiftly.
In mid-May, Nazarbayev held the last meeting of the working group and announced that he was ready to amend parliament’s consideration. On May 16 and 18, the Parliament held two readings of the amendments and promptly adopted them. After they were signed by the head of state, Kazakhstan should become a different, more democratic. It remains to be seen whether the changes proposed and accepted are sufficient for this.
Nazarbayev, introducing the draft amendments to the Constitution, noted that some proposals allow us to go even further than suggested by members of the working group and commissions on democratization. The bulk of the amendments are aimed at expanding the powers of parliament and political parties. The scheme for the election of the Majilis, the lower house, which, according to the adopted changes, will now consist only of party deputies, is also changing. The amendments provide for the election of 98 members of the chamber on party lists, another 9 will be recommended by the Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan - the body in which the leaders of ethnic communities living in the republic are represented.
The number of deputies appointed by the president will increase in the senate. Instead of 7, there will be 15 of them, and when they are appointed, the head of state will also consult with the Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan.
The government, according to the amendments, will be formed on the basis of the parliamentary majority, it will also be represented by the Prime Minister. In this case, he will be appointed only after consulting with parliamentary factions.
The parliament will receive more powers to express a vote of no confidence in the government and individual ministers, and the importance of parliament will increase in the formation of the Constitutional Council, the Central Election Commission and the Accounts Committee for monitoring the execution of the republican budget.
However, the reform was not as wide as it was announced. The current head of state himself noted that Kazakhstan will remain a presidential republic. The deputies, however, went even further in preserving presidential power in Kazakhstan. On the day of the second reading of the amendments to the Constitution, a group of parliamentarians proposed not to limit Nazarbayev to two terms of presidency. In fact, Nazarbayev received the right to become a life-long Kazakh leader, and even after he left the presidency, he could influence the life of the country, being the leader of the largest Nur-Otan party, which controls the country's parliament. At the same time, the presidential term will be reduced from seven to five years. In this case, it only means that Nazarbayev will be elected a little more often than before.
Amendments to the Constitution, significantly changing, for example, the concept of electing Majilis, actually leave the existing system unchanged - the President of Kazakhstan still influences everything that happens in the political sphere. The amendments make it even more influential. For example, he can now dissolve the parliament, after consulting only with the prime minister and the speakers of the chambers. The new powers of the parliament and the somewhat expanded powers of the maslikhats - local representative bodies of power - will also not affect the influence of the head of state, due to the fact that deputies who have a different opinion from the general line are not represented in either the local or the republican parliaments.
The head of the Perspectives analytical center, political scientist Andrei Chebotarev believes that Nazarbayev benefits from amending the Constitution. “All amendments are aimed at further strengthening the position of the head of state, actually strengthening the status and powers of parliament, the president actually forms the system of the dominant party, which takes place, say, in Japan, Mexico and in some other countries of the world. This suggests that the head of state is trying to create for himself a system that he will manage according to the principle of "divide and conquer," Chebotarev told Oasis online magazine.
The deputies of the parliament, on the contrary, believe that the president not only expressed his willingness to share some of the powers, but also took a serious step towards this. “The turn from presidential to presidential-parliamentary rule is noticeable, as it exists in many developed countries. The adoption of the law offers us a very dynamic, intensive work for the future. There will be fundamental changes in our community, starting from the formation of the parliament itself, ”said the deputy of the Senate (upper house of parliament) Kuanysh Sultanov, quoted by the Interfax-Kazakhstan agency.
The opposition more restrainedly appreciated the amendments to the Constitution. The leader of the National Social Democratic Party Zharmakhan Tuyakbai expressed optimism about the proposed changes, the Communist leader Serikbolsyn Abdildin said that he did not see much of a novelty in the proposals of Nazarbayev.
“I believe that these amendments do not contain any novelty, because such proposals were worked out from the first years of independence of the state and all the time the head of state ... tied all the questions to his presidential post,” he said in a commentary to Oasis. The leader of the Communist Party believes that the current president has proposed to adopt "convenient to him" amendments.