Speech by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Joint Session of the Chambers of Parliament March 20, 2019
Dear Leader of the Nation! Dear members of Parliament, members of Government! Dear compatriots!
Yesterday, on March 19, the whole world witnessed a most important historical event. The great man, the founder of the Kazakh statehood, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev voluntarily relinquished his powers as the Head of State.
This important decision of the Head of State showed his greatness as a politician, who is recognized at the global level and on a historical scale.This decision was motivated by considerations of the highest order, true concern for the future of our state.
We have achieved many great accomplishments, first the treasured independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan, thanks to the hard work of the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev laid the foundations of the new state during some of the most difficult geopolitical conditions imaginable following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and led it.
Despite many negative forecasts, thanks to Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev the whole world recognized our country. Our state has appeared on the world map, which has become a true symbol of development and democracy, peace and harmony. Our President for the first time in the history of Kazakhstan has formed new state institutions.
These include the presidency, the bicameral Parliament, the civil service, the armed forces, the diplomatic service, and civil society institutions. The Constitution was adopted in 1995.
Substantial changes to the Constitution gave this key document a democratic character. Under the leadership of the Leader of the Nation, reforms aimed at the modernisation of the economy have been systematically implemented in Kazakhstan.
In addition, there have been significant changes in the political system of the state. Structural reforms have become the main driving force for the development of the state. As a person, who has served together with the Leader of the Nation for many years, I can say with full confidence: the President is a person of great leadership who has devoted his life’s work to the highest goal - improving the welfare of our people.
Nursultan Nazarbayev has already entered the history books as an outstanding reformer. He managed to transform Kazakhstan into a modern, advanced state, part of the group of the 50 most competitive countries in the world. His economic and political reforms have become a symbol of considered public policy. Therefore, foreign experts call the reforms of the Leader of the Nation the __“Kazakhstan Way” __or the “Kazakhstan model”.
The reforms of the Leader of the Nation have set Kazakhstan on a path to sustainable development. The Republic of Kazakhstan has become the leader of the Central Asian region in all economic indicators, and took a leading position in the post-Soviet space. Kazakhstan has managed to accumulate large financial resources in the National Fund, which makes it possible to solve important socio-economic tasks in crisis situations.
The President placed important focus on attracting investment into the economy. Thanks to this, Kazakhstan is leading the entire post-socialist countries, including Central Europe, in terms of foreign direct investment per capita. Our country has attracted more than $300 billion in foreign direct investments.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, since the first days of independence, has begun creating a strong state with an open-access market economy to improve the well-being of the people. On this road filled with difficulties, he has achieved unprecedented success. Each Address of the President to the Nation, in particular, the Addresses in March and October 2018, as well as his speech at the 18th Congress of the Nur Otan party, showed his sincere care for the interests of the country.
His reforms aimed at providing social support to citizens of Kazakhstan included unique measures that have no comparable policies in other countries. Our state has become a territory of harmony, accord, and tolerance between all peoples and religious denominations. Lasting peace, national unity in the ninth largest country of the world by territory is the most important factor in ensuring international stability and security. At the very dawn of independence, a unique institution - the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan - was created. Thanks to the historical synthesis of world religions, languages, cultures and traditions, Kazakhstan has formed a society in which peace and harmony have become an integral part of our political culture. The model of peace and social harmony developed by the Leader of the Nation has received international recognition as a standard of the harmonious development of society.
The general historical fates of the people of Kazakhstan, as well as the successes achieved due to independence, are set out in the concept of “Mangilik El” (Eternal Nation). This document harmoniously combines a common goal, a common interest and excellent prospects of our people. At the suggestion of the Leader of the Nation, the patriotic act “Mangilik El” (Eternal Nation) was adopted, which became a powerful incentive for strengthening national unity.
During the years of independence, a whole generation of young citizens has been brought up in the spirit of true patriotism, and love for their nation. The implementation of a youth policy, the values within the unique programme “Ruhani Zhangyru” (Modernisation of Kazakhstan’s Identity) and the article “Seven Facets of the Great Steppe” had a positive impact on shaping the attitudes and outlook of the youth. Thanks to the hard work of the Leader of the Nation, our people for the first time in their history felt legitimate ownership of their native land. Our hearts were filled with a sense of pride in our Homeland.
The strategy “Kazakhstan 2050”, the “Nurly Zhol” new economic policy, the nation’s “100 Concrete Steps” plan are aimed at modernising the country, and further strengthening the economic potential of Kazakhstan. These policies are especially important in limiting the impact of instability and international crises on the people of Kazakhstan. Modern Kazakhstan is a country with an open market economy, and a democratic and secular state.
Many private businesses have been created in the country, a new middle class has grown, and entrepreneurship is developing intensively. Important socio-economic issues are being resolved timely. The process of reform and modernisation of the economy is successfully continuing, despite the financial and economic crises in international markets that affected Kazakhstan. Our industrial power is being consistently strengthened, scientific developments are being introduced into production, and the digitisation of the economy and public life is being carried out.
In our country, key programmes, such as “Business Roadmap”, “Agribusiness” and “Employment Programme” are being implemented. Next in line is the completion of strategically important infrastructure projects. This includes such programmes as “Nurly Zhol”, “Western Europe-Western China” and the Trans-Caspian international transport route. Kazakhstan has now developed into a transport and logistics hub of global importance, which will significantly enhance our county’s economic potential.
Kazakhstan has taken a worthy place in the global educational space. Our country is in the first third of the world list on the Human Development Index in terms of adult literacy. Kazakhstan has also entered the group of states with a high level of human development. The “Bolashak” programme is being implemented thanks to the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev University was created for the country; intellectual schools were opened in all regional centres.
Modern schools were built in each region of the country in accordance with the requirements of the new era. Thousands of citizens have the opportunity to receive quality education both domestically and abroad.
Important economic and social factors have helped Kazakhstan to become a healthy nation. The development of a modern health sector and the formation of a healthy lifestyle are two such examples. Positive results have been achieved concerning the health of the population, life expectancy and birth rate. All these achievements are recognized by the World Health Organisation.
The “Madeni Mura” (Cultural Heritage) programme, initiated by Nursultan Nazarbayev, gave new impetus to the development of our culture. The addition of the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yassaui, “Tamgaly” monuments and other historical sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List were particularly important events. Our First President significantly contributed towards the construction and development of our new capital.
Establishing the city of Astana is a historic feat of the Head of State. Our capital has become a true image of an independent country, the pride of our people. The capital is a sacred representation of the concept and ideology of the new state. While praising the values of the past, our capital, in fact, demonstrated a new image of Kazakhstan to the whole world. Our capital has become a major centre for holding summits and other important international meetings.
In 2017, Astana hosted the EXPO entitled “Future Energy”. The historical accolade of the Head of State also lies in the fact that Kazakhstan for the first time in its national history has a state border legally defined by international agreements. Now it is a border of good-neighborliness and cooperation, which is extremely important in current geopolitical realities. Nursultan Nazarbayev is recognized worldwide as the initiator who set up the Eurasian Economic Union as a strong advocate for Eurasian integration. He stood at the origins of authoritative international organisations such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. Thanks to the Leader of the Nation, Astana hosted the historic OSCE summit, the Congresses of World and Traditional Religions, and many other international forums which are held on a regular basis.
Kazakhstan has become an authoritative and influential participant in global peace processes, the country was elected to the UN Security Council for 2017-2018, received world recognition as the leader of the global movement for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, as well as an impartial mediator in interfaith dialogue.
We, representatives of the current and future generations, have to remember and honour the political heritage of Nursultan Nazarbayev and his historical legacy. We have to remember the great contribution of the Head of State to our nation and the international community, as well as his great name. It is important for our nation, especially the youngsters, to respect the history and justify the glorious work of the Leader of the Nation.
I think we have to immortalise the name of our great contemporary, First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev with the following: Our capital should bear his name and be named Nursultan. Such a proposal has already been expressed by the parliamentarians in the Declaration adopted on November 23, 2016 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan. To build a monument in honour of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the capital of the country. To name the central streets of all regional centres after Nursultan Nazarbayev. I think everyone will agree that the Leader of the Nation deserves awarding the highest titles of our state – “Halyk Qaharmany” (the National Hero) and “Enbek Eri” (the Hero of Labour).
We should also give the Leader of the Nation the status of Honorary Senator. All portraits and photographs of the First President will remain a vital attribute of public premises, civil servant buildings, and educational institutions. The livelihood of the Leader of the Nation will be provided for in accordance with the law on the First President - Leader of the Nation and other legislative acts. He keeps the right to use the entire service infrastructure.
At the same time, according to the laws adopted by the Parliament, Nursultan Nazarbayev remains the only and lifelong Leader of the Nation (Father of the Nation) in our country. He is also Chairman of the Security Council, Chairman of the Nur Otan party, Chairman of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, and a Member of the Constitutional Council. An authoritative opinion of the Leader of the Nation will have a particular, even, priority importance in the development and adoption of strategic decisions.
Thus, we carry out the transfer of power in a calm, conflict-free way, which is a powerful factor in ensuring internal stability and strengthening the international authority of Kazakhstan. This is another manifestation of the high political culture of our people, and its exceptional wisdom. It is also a good example for future generations. Today, speaking from this podium, I would like to sincerely thank my political mentor Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev for trusting me to govern our state as the President of the country during this difficult period of global development.
Being fully aware of the full scope of responsibility of the upcoming mission, I plan to direct my knowledge and experience to ensuring the continuity of the strategic course of the Leader of the Nation. Our common goal is to preserve and strengthen the independence of our state, the main and historic heritage of the Leader of the Nation.
Having voluntarily relinquished duties as President, Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev again showed the entire world his wisdom and leadership as a great politician, committed to democratic values. It is in this capacity that he entered national and world history. At this important moment in the development of our state, the whole country should rally around the idea of further building a prosperous, democratic, and fair Kazakhstan. Ahead of us is large-scale and complex work for the future of our country. Using my strength and knowledge for the benefit of Kazakhstan, as well as honestly serving our people, is my main commitment.
I thank the deputies present in this hall, members of the Government, civil servants, members of the public and the media, and the diplomatic corps for their understanding and support.
Dear Leader of the Nation! Dear guests!
My first decision as President, in accordance with the Constitutional Law on the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - the Leader of the Nation and the Law on state awards, is to award Nursultan Nazarbayev with the special distinction “Altyn Zhuldyz”(Golden Star) and to grant the title “Halyk Qaharmany” (the National Hero) for his historical contribution to the establishment of an independent Kazakhstan, for his outstanding work in the economic, social and humanitarian development, as well as the unity of our society.