Kazakhstan experienced significant political changes as former President Nursultan Nazarbayev ceded power to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Civil unrest occurred in January 2022, resulting in the establishment of a “New Kazakhstan” proclaiming equal opportunity, political liberalization, economic diversification, and social justice. Constitutional reforms in June 2022 extended Tokayev’s presidency for seven years and enhanced the ruling party’s control.

Economically, Kazakhstan returned to growth, albeit weak and overshadowed by global recession fears. Rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, Russia’s economic crisis and Western sanctions against Russia provide challenges. The inflation of food prices poses a significant concern to households. Budget deficits persisted and government borrowing has only slightly decreased since the pandemic’s peak.

After signaling a break with the Nazarbayev era, Tokayev pushed through ambitious reforms, including creating a Constitutional Court to replace the Constitutional Council and reforming the security agency. Despite government efforts to combat bribery and corruption, political corruption and nepotism remained significant obstacles, indicating the need for further comprehensive reforms.

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