A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is. When these principles are written down into a single document or set of legal documents, those documents may be said to embody a written constitution; if they are written down in a single comprehensive document, it is said to embody a codified constitution. Some constitutions (such as the constitution of the United Kingdom) are uncodified, but written in numerous fundamental Acts of a legislature, court cases or treaties.
Constitutions concern different levels of organizations, from sovereign states to companies and unincorporated associations. A treaty which establishes an international organization is also its constitution, in that it would define how that organization is constituted. Within states, a constitution defines the principles upon which the state is based, the procedure in which laws are made and by whom. Some constitutions, especially codified constitutions, also act as limiters of state power, by establishing lines which a state’s rulers cannot cross, such as fundamental rights.
The term constitution comes through French from the Latin word constitutio, used for regulations and orders, such as the imperial enactments (constitutiones principis: edicta, mandata, decreta, rescripta). Later, the term was widely used in canon law for an important determination, especially a decree issued by the Pope, now referred to as an apostolic constitution.
In simple words, we can say a Constitution is the constitutional law of the state. Constitutional law enjoys the position of being the supreme and fundamental law of the state. It lays down the organisation and functions of the government of state. The Government can use only those powers which the Constitution grants to it.
- “Constitution is the collection of principles according to which the powers of the government, the rights of the governed and the relations between the two are adjusted. -Woolsey
- “Constitution is a body of judicial rules which determine the supreme organs of state, prescribes their modes of creation, their mutual relations, their spheres of action and the fundamental place of each of them in relation to state.” -Jellinek
- ” Constitution of a state is that body of rules or laws, written or unwritten which determine the organisation of government, the distribution of powers to the various organs of government and the general principles on which these powers are to be exercised.” –Gilchrist
Constitution (this word appeared many centuries ago and comes from the Latin word “constitution” — structure) is the Basic Law of country which defines social and political structure, organization of public administration, relations between state and society, citizens and state. Constitution is one of the most important institutions of democracy. There were several constitutions of Kazakhstan.
1.The Constitution of the Kazakh ASSR, 1926.The final text of the first Constitution of Kazakhstan was adopted by the Resolution of the Central Executive Committee of the Kazakh ASSR from February 18, 1926 after the establishment of the USSR. This document was guided by the Constitution of the RSFSR of 1925 because Kazakhstan was a part of this country. The Basic Law defined the form of Government, state structure, political regime, structure of the bodies of state power, executive and administrative institutions. It determined fundamental principles of active and passive right to vote and budgetary law. According to this Constitution, being a part of the RSFSR Kazakhstan has equal rights with other republics.
2.The Constitution of the Kazakh SSR, 1937.The Constitution of the Kazakh SSR was adopted on March 26, 1937 by the 10th All-Kazakh Congress of the Soviets. It consisted of 11 chapters and 125 articles. It was written that “Out of the limits of article 14 of the Constitution of the USSR the Kazakhs SSR exercises its State authority independently, preserving its sovereign rights completely”. The Constitution of 1937 enshrined the following provisions: voluntary association with other equal republics for mutual assistance in economic and political defence (article 13), inalterability of the territory without consent of the Kazakh SSR (article 16), competence of the republic according to which the highest republican and local governmental authorities as well as bodies controlling implementation of law, protecting state and public order, rights of citizens, collecting taxes and so on (article 19).
At the same time the system of prosecutorial and judicial authorities was set up. People’s Courts were elected by people in regions on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage in a secret ballot, legal procedure should be carried in Kazakh language while in regions with the majority of other nations — in their language (articles 83-90).
The Constitution of 1937 defined citizens’ fundamental rights and obligations: the right to work (article 96), the right to rest (article 97), to obtain material support in old age in the case of illness or disability (article 98), health protection, guarantees of freedom of expression, press, assembly, rallies, street marches and demonstrations, integrity of person, homes and correspondence, the right of asylum for foreign citizens.
The first elections to the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR were held on June 24, 1938. The elections were based on universal, equal and direct election right using secret ballot. The Parliamentarian corps was formed with no alternative under stringent control of the Communist party. The candidates to the deputies were chosen based on class, party, ethnicity, nationality, age and gender and other quotas. Highest rank officials of public bodies, heads of party, Komsomol and trade union bodies were nominated as candidates according to their positions. This was the reason for election procedure to be often quite formalistic.According to Constitution of 1937 the sessions of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR are convoked by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR twice a year. Extraordinary sessions are convoked by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR at its discretion or upon request of one third of the deputies of Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR.
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet is a working body of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR elected by the Supreme Soviet and accountable to the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR for all its activities.
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR shall:
- a)convoke sessions of Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR;
- b)provide interpretation of the laws of Kazakh SSR, issue decrees;
- c)carry out national survey (referendum);
- d)cancel resolutions and instructions of the Soviet of People’s Commissionaires of Kazakh SSR and decisions and instructions of provincial Soviets of working class deputies if they are not consistent with the laws;
- e)in between the sessions of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR discharge from the posts and nominate certain People’s Commissionaires of Kazakh SSR upon recommendation of the Chair of the Soviet of people’s commissionaires of Kazakh SSR so that they are submitted for approval by the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR;
- f)assign titles of honour of Kazakh SSR and issue rewards;
- g)execute the right of free pardon of the persons convicted by the judicial bodies of Kazakh SSR.
At the end of the term of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR shall within maximum two month since the end of the term of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR schedule new election. At the end of the term of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR preserves its power until the newly elected Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR form the new Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR. The newly elected Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR shall be convoked by the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR of the previous convocation not later than a month after the election.These were the key powers of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of Kazakh SSR according to Constitution of 1937. In addition to legislative powers it was responsible for other duties. During the second period important historical event happened that in the course of democratic development in the country, USSR collapse and establishment of the sovereign state – the Republic of Kazakhstan – radically changed the authorities of the Supreme Soviet. This is why we will consider the second period in more detail.
3.The Constitution of the Kazakh SSR, 1978.The Constitution of the Kazakh SSR was adopted by the 7th extraordinary session of the Supreme Council of the republic of 9th convocation on April 20, 1978. It consisted of the preamble, 10 sections, 19 chapters and 173 articles. According to it, all powers belonged to people who were divided into the following classes: workers, peasants and labor intelligentsia. The Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR controlled the system of governments and governance authorities (article 6). State cooperative-collective property and property of professional union and other public associations were proclaimed as the foundation of economic system in the republic.
The Constitution of 1978 defined national-state and administrative-territorial structure of the republic, competence of the highest and local authorities (articles 78-83, 97-139), principles of the electoral system, legal status of peoples’ deputies, institutions of the plan of economic and social development, state budget, justice, arbitration, procuracy supervision, and to name but a few.
In the beginning of 1990-s in the Kazakh SSR and later in Kazakhstan several laws considerably amended the Constitution of 1978 were adopted. According to the Law “On the Improvement of the governmental structure” of November 20, 1990, the Constitution was completed with the following provisions: the President was the Head of executive and administrative power, the Council of Ministers was transformed into the Cabinet of Ministers. There were other laws, including the Law “On Local Self-Government and Local People’s Deputies of the Kazakh SSR” of February 15, 1991, the Law “On Change the Name of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic” of December 10, 1991, the Law “On the State Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan” of December 16, 1991, the Law “On Citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan” of December 20, 1991, and so on.
4.The Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan,1993. The first Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan was adopted on 28 January 1993, it consisted of 4 sections, 21 chapters. Kazakhstan was hailed as an integral part of the global community, confirmed the commitment of the Republic of international norms and to creating a democratic and legal state. Constitution proclaimed interethnic consent with in the country with the rule of the Kazakh nation, provide equal rights and freedoms of all citizens, reinforcing the rights and responsibilities equally human. Under the Constitution, the state language of the republic was the Kazakh language and Russian language to the language of interethnic communication. The restriction of the rights and freedoms of citizens on the basis of knowledge of the state language or a language of interethnic communication. The Constitution of 1993 was not clearly defined form of government. Kazakhstan proclaimed a republic, but did not specify which one. At this time, the country had both signs of a presidential and a parliamentary republic. The 1993 Constitution did not provide definitions of concepts such as «social harmony» and «political stability», «economic development for the benefit of the people», «Kazakhstan patriotism», «vote in the national referendum.” Without their use of clear government policy is not properly defined. At the urging of the head of state, these concepts were introduced in the Constitution (1995). Thus, Kazakhstan’s model of political system in its development took place in the first half of the 1990s, three stages. At the first stage (March 1990 — in November 1991) parliamentary republic had been formed. At the second stage (with December 1991 to January 1993) semi-presidential republic had been formed. At the third stage (with January 1993 to in March 1995) traits of both parliamentary and presidential republic (the especially with the December 1993) had become more clear. Strengthening of state sovereignty and the institution of the presidency. The Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 1995. August 30, 1995 in the referendum was attended by 212,773 people, or 81.14% of the electorate. Only 9.9% of the participants gave a negative referendum. As a result, a new Constitution of the Republic voted 89% of the referendum. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan is a democratic, secular, unitary, social and legal state. Essentially, Kazakhstan became the state with a presidential form of government. The Constitution established democratic principles of separation of powers in the country between the legislative, executive and judicial branches, which interact on the principles of deterrence and balance. Principled position was that the presidency now became the personification of the state and the unity of the people of Kazakhstan, and in the Constitution of 1993, he was in an executive. Parliamentarism of Kazakhstan. First the Constitution introduced the concept of «Parliament» as a democratic institution, approved in many countries and has proven its effectiveness. The new Constitution has defined the powers of the President in the relationship — and Parliament President — Government. Parliament was recognized higher authority exercising the legislative activity of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
- The current Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan was approved by popular referendum on August 30, 1995. This day is a state holiday — the Day of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Extensive discussion of the draft constitution preceded the adoption of the Basic Law. In general, approximately 33 thousand collective discussion of the draft were carried out. More than 3 million people participated in them. Almost 30 thousand proposals and remarks were made during the discussion. 1100 amendments and additions in 55 articles were made.
Since the adoption the current Constitution was amended three times: in 1998, 2007 and 2011. In 1998 19 articles of the Basic Law were amended and complemented. The changes affected the term and competence of the President, Deputies of the Senate and the Majilis; age limit for public servants specified in the previous constitution was called off. In addition, amendments made provisions for election of 10 Deputies of the Majilis from party lists according to the principle of proportional representation.
More significant amendments were adopted in 2007. In general, their idea can be explained in the following way: transition to the proportional representation system; strengthening the status of the Parliament due to introduction of the norm on approval of the nominee for the appointment to the position of the Prime Minister by the parliamentary majority and the procedure of the President’s consultation with party factions before the appointment of the Head of Government. At the same time, the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan obtained constitutional status and the right to delegate its representatives to the Majilis and the Senate of the Parliament according to the established quota.
In February 2011 the Constitution was amended to establish constitutional basis for the announcement and conduction of extraordinary Presidential election.
Section I. General Provisions (Art. 1-9)
Section II. The Individual and Citizen (Art. 10-39)
Section III. The President (Art. 40-48)
Section IV. The Parliament (Art. 49-63)
Section V. The Government (Art. 64-70)
Section VI. The Constitutional Council (Art. 71-74)
Section VII. Court and justice (Art. 75-83)
Section VIII. Local public administration and self-administration (Art. 85-89)
Section IX. Concluding and transitional provisions (Art. 90-98)
The electoral system and the formation of the party system. The basis of electoral legislation in Kazakhstan was the decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 28 September 1998 «On elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan», which has constitutional force. Exception of a special article «On the influence of political parties on the formation and manifestation of political freedoms» of the Constitution of 1995 had a significant impact on the development of the party system. Updating, improvement of legal basis for the formation of a multiparty system is reflected in the laws «On Public Associations» and «On political parties», adopted in 1996, and to ensure the right of free association of citizens of Kazakhstan. These laws were enacted in order to form parties of the parliamentary type. However, after the elections to the Majilis of the Parliament in 1995 there was a crisis in the development of parties. His main reason was that the activities of the parties was limited mainly election campaigns. January 10, 1999 presidential elections were held nationwide. First time in the history of independent Kazakhstan was elected President on an alternative basis. Election results, N. Nazarbayev won 79.78% of the vote, and a representative of the opposition (the Communist Party) SA Abdil’din-11.7% of the vote. 1999 presidential elections were pre-term, in terms of transit had precedents in world politics. January 20, 1999 inauguration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. In the same 1999 October 10 to the new mixed electoral system, elections to the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In the election race involved 10 parties. Election results, 67 deputies were elected in single-seat constituencies and 10 — on the party list of the national district. Defeated party «Otan», «Civil», «Agrarian» and Communist. Presidential Election of 2005, Presidential elections December 4, 2005 became the most important event in the political life of Kazakhstan. Among them more than 8.8 million voters on the lists, voting was about 6.8 million people. Among them for the current President N. Nazarbayev voted 6.1 million voters. January 11, 2006 in Astana, at the new presidential palace «Akorda» was held inauguration ceremony — the official inauguration of the President of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev. Delegates from more than 70 countries attended the ceremony. The constitutional reform of 2007. Evolution of a multiparty parliamentary system and in the 2000s. May 21, 2007, both houses of Parliament voted in favor of the initiative of President N. Nazarbayev on Amendments to the Constitution. Parliament has passed a considerable part of the presidential term. In particular, the Parliament began to possess the power to control the formation and activities of the Government, two-thirds of the Constitutional Council, the Central Election Commission and the Statistical Committee. To improve the efficiency and quality of government was considered his responsibility to the head of state and parliament. As part of the executive branch of the reformation, it was decided to strengthen the role of institutions of local government and elections akim (local governor). In sum, all these measures are meant transition from a presidential to a presidential-parliamentary republic. July 15, 2002 adopted a new Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan «On political parties». In Kazakhstan there are 10 officially registered political parties: People’s Democratic Party «Nur Otan» Party «Rukhaniyat» Democratic Party of Kazakhstan «Ak Zhol», with Kazakhstan Social-Democratic Party «Aul» Democratic Party «Edshet», the Communist People Party of Kazakhstan Communist Party of Kazakhstan, Party of Patriots of Kazakhstan, the National Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Kazakhstan «Azat» (October 13, 2009 National Social Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Kazakhstan «Azat» said the merger in the United Social Democratic Party «Azat»).
The Government The Government of Kazakhstan exercises executive power, heads the system of executive bodies and provides guidance of their activities. The Head of the government is appointed by the President when the candidature of the premier has been approved by the majority of Parliament. Personal composition of the government is appointed by the President by the presentation of candidatures by premier. Structure and composition of the government of Kazakhstan. Prime-minister submits for a consideration to the President the structure of the government. The structure of the government is – the Prime-Minister, Vice Prime-Minister, 3 Prime-Minister deputies and 16 ministers. The legislative branch in Kazakhstan is represented by a bicameral Parliament: a Lower Chamber – the Majilis, and an Upper Chamber – the Senate. According to the Constitution, the Parliament is a high representative body of the Republic which carries out legislative functions.The Senate is established by elections in each region, city and the capital of Kazakhstan deputies at joint session of deputies of all representative bodies of regions, cities of republican importance and the capital. Seven deputies of Senate are appointed by the president. There 39 deputies in the Upper Chamber, 32 of them are elected, 7 are appointed by the Head of state. In conclusion:
- The Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan was approved in August 1995.
- The Constitution provides for a democratic, secular state and a presidential system of rule.
- State governance is divided among the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
- President is the head of state.
- In October 1998, the Constitution was amended to provide for a seven-year presidential term.
- In May 2007 the Constitution was amended to allow only two terms for a president and reduced the presidential term from seven to five years.
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