Senate of Kazakhstan
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The Senate of Kazakhastan (Kazakh: Қазақстан Парламентінің Сенаты, Qazaqstan Parlamentiniñ Senatı) is the upper house of two chambers in Kazakhstan's legislature, known as the Parliament (Parlamenti). The Senate is composed of elected members - two from each region, the city of republican importance (Almaty) and the capital city of the Republic of Kazakhstan at joint sessions of the members of all representative bodies of respective regions, city of the republican importance and the capital city of the Republic.
Members of the Senate are elected on the basis of indirect suffrage by secret ballot. Half of elected members of the Senate are up for election every three years.
Fifteen members are appointed by the President of Kazakhstan with the view to ensure representation for all the diverse national, cultural components of society.
The term of office for the members of the Senate is 6 years.
According to constitutional norms in the Parliament of the fifth convocation, members of the Senate elected in 2011 and 2014 and those appointed by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2011 and 2013 continue to hold office.
Powers of the Senate
Joint sessions of Senate and Mazhilis
According to the Constitution and the Constitutional law "On the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan" the Parliament at joint sessions of the Chambers shall:
- make amendments and additions to the Constitution at the proposal of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- approve the reports of the Government and the Accounts Committee on implementation of the republican budget. If the parliament doesn’t approve Government’s report on implementation of the republican budget, it means a motion of no-confidence vote by the Parliamentagainst the Government;
- have the right to delegate legislative powers for a term not exceeding one year to the President by two-thirds of the votes from the total number of deputies of each Chamber at the initiative of the President;
- decide issues of war and peace;
- adopt decisions concerning the use of the Armed Forces of the Republic to fulfill international obligations in support of peace and security at the proposal of the President of the Republic;
- hear annual messages of the Constitutional Council of the Republic on the state of the constitutional legality in the Republic;
- form joint commissions of the Chambers; elect and release from office their chairpersons; hear report on the activity of the commissions;
- exercise other powers assigned to Parliament by the Constitution.
Separate sessions of Senate and Mazhilis
Parliament at separate sessions of the Chambers through consecutive consideration of issues first in the Mazhilis and then in the Senate shall adopt constitutional laws and laws, and shall:
- approve the budget of the republic, make amendments and additions;
- establish and remove state fees and taxes;
- establish the procedure dealing with the issues of administrative-territorial division of Kazakhstan;
- institute state awards, honorary, military and other titles, ranked positions, diplomatic ranks of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and define state symbols of the Republic;
- decide issues of state loans and rendering of economic and other assistance by the Republic;
- issue acts of amnesty to citizens;
- ratify and denounce international treaties of the Republic.
- discuss reports on implementation of the budget of the republic;
- conduct second round of discussions and voting on bills and separate articles that were subject to President’s objection;
- put forward an initiative calling for national referendum.
Exclusive powers of the Senate of Parliament
The following shall belong to exclusive jurisdiction of the Senate:
- election and discharge from office of the Chairperson of the Supreme Court and judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic at the proposal of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and swearing them into office;
- approval of the appointment of the Prosecutor General and the Chairperson of the Committee of National Security by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
- assuming all the functions of the Parliament of the Republic in adopting constitutional laws and laws in the period of temporary absence of the Mazhilis following its early dissolution (On two occasions the Senate assumed all the functions of the Parliament in adopting constitutional laws and laws: from June 21 till July 11, 2007, and from November 16, 2011 till January 19, 2012);
- Exercise other powers assigned to the Senate of the Parliament by the Constitution.
Special authorities of the Senate of Parliament
Each Chamber independently without participation of another Chamber shall:
- appoint two members of the Constitutional Council; appoint two members for a five-year term to the Central Election Commission and three members of the Accounts Committee for control over implementation of the republican budget;
- terminate powers of members of the Chambers;
- hold Parliamentary hearings on the issues of within its jurisdiction;
- hear reports of members of the Government of the Republic on the issues of their activities;
- set up coordinating and working bodies of the Chambers;
- adopt the rules of its activities and other decisions on the issues related to organization and internal procedures of the Chambers.
Chairman of the Senate
The Chairman of the Senate is a person elected by the Senate among the members of the House by a secret voting majority from the total number of deputies of the House. The candidature on the post of the Chairman of the Senate is nominated by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is the current Chairman of the Senate.
There are two Deputy Chairmen of the Senate (currently Kairat Ischanov and Askar Beisenbayev)
Former Chairmen of the Senate
|Omirbek Baigeldy||January 30, 1996–November 30, 1999|
|Oralbay Abdykarimov||December 1, 1999 – March 10, 2004|
|Nurtai Abykayev||March 10, 2004 – January 11, 2007|
|Kassym-Jomart Tokayev||January 11, 2007 – April 15, 2011|
|Kairat Mami||April 15, 2011 – October 16, 2013|
|Kassym-Jomart Tokayev||since October 16, 2013|
Rights, Requirements, and Responsibilities of Senators
A member of the Parliament must be a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan who has been a permanent resident on its territory over the last ten years.
To hold office Senators have to be at least 30 years of age with higher education and 5 years of work experience, permanently residing on the territory of the particular region, city of republican significance or the capital of the Republic for at least 3 years.
Powers of a member of the Parliament commence from the moment of his/her registration as a member of the Parliament by the Central Election Commission of the Republic.
At the first session of Parliament at joint session of its Chambers MPs take oath to the people of Kazakhstan: "I do solemnly swear to truly serve the people of Kazakhstan, to strengthen integrity and independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to abide strictly by its Constitution and laws, to carry out honestly the high duties of an MP assigned to me».
Administration of the oath is done by the President at a ceremony in the presence of members of the Government, the Constitutional Council, judges of the Supreme Court, ex-presidents of the Republic.
Senators, along with all other MPs, must participate in the work of the Parliament and its bodies; they may only vote in person.
Member of the Senate exercises the right of a decisive vote on all issues considered at sessions of Parliament and its bodies of which he/she is a member.
Senators have the rights to:
- elect and be elected to working bodies of the Parliament and the Senate;
- make proposals and comments concerning the session agenda, the procedure and content of discussed issues;
- express opinion on nominations elected or appointed by the Senate of Parliament or consent to the appointments made by the Parliament and the Senate;
- submit proposals to Bureau of the Chamber regarding issues at a joint session of the Chambers of the Parliament and at a Senate session of the Parliament and if his/her proposals are turned down - submit them for the Senate’s consideration;
- submit issues for consideration at gatherings of working bodies of the Parliament and of the Senate of Parliament;
- propose to hold a hearing by the officials accountable to Chambers of Parliament at a joint session of Parliament;
- make MP inquiries in the order established by the law;
- participate in debates, to make queries to speakers, and also to the chairperson;
- present arguments upon his/her voting in favour of certain amendments and share information;
- make amendments to draft bills, resolutions, other decrees accepted by Parliament;
- inform members of Parliament about appeals of public significance from citizens;
- see texts of MP speeches in shorthand reports and minutes of Parliament’s session;
- request information and documents necessary for his/her activity from state bodies and officials; state bodies and officials should provide MPs with requested documents and materials with consideration of secrets protected by law;
- exercise other powers according to the present Constitutional Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the status of MPs", rules of Parliament and of its Chambers.
Standing committees of the Senate within the scope of their competence are free to choose forms and methods of activity, interact with state bodies and public unions, examine and take into account public opinion, hold parliamentary hearings, government hours, conferences, round tables, meetings, presentations and other parliamentary events.
Committees of the Senate hold visiting sessions across regions in order to examine public opinion on bills under consideration by the Parliament and other pressing issues.
MPs visit for their or other regions quarterly and meet with different groups of people, get acquainted with the situation on the fields, answer citizens’ questions, comment on major provisions of laws adopted by the Parliament.
- Committee on Constitutional Legislation, Judicial System and Law Enforcement Bodies
- Committee on Finance and Budget
- Committee on International Relations, Defense and Security
- Committee on Economic Development and Entrepreneurship
- Committee on Social and Culture Development and Science
- Committee on Exploitation of Natural Resources and Development of Rural Areas
MPs’ inquiries and questions
MPs’ inquiry is an official request addressed at a joint and separate sessions of the Chambers of the Parliament to state officials to obtain information on specific matters related to the competence of this body or an official.
Member of the Senate has the right to make an inquiry to the Prime Minister and the Government, Chairman of the National Bank, Chairman and members of Central Election Commission, Prosecutor General, Chairman of the Committee of National Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chairman and members of the Accounts committee for control over execution of the republican budget.
Up to now members of the Senate have made more than thousand inquiries on various issues of state and public life.
Senate's international activities
Parliament’s involvement in international activity of Kazakhstan and engagement of MPs in identifying and implementing foreign policy of our country has significantly increased.
Senators actively participate in the work of such inter-parliamentary organizations as Inter-parliamentary Assembly of Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Eurasian Economic Community, Parliamentary Assemblies of CSTO, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Interparliamentary Union, European Parliament, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, Turk PA.
Senate of the Parliament makes a significant contribution to the activity of inter-parliamentary organizations and promotion of inter-parliamentary dialogue, enhancing integration of Kazakhstan into the world community, increase its role and capacity to shape decision making process in line with their national interests.
Involvement of the Senate of the Parliament in international parliamentary organizations:
- Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA)
- Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
- Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU)
- Parliamentary Assembly of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO PA)
- Inter-parliamentary Assembly of Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS)
- Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Eurasian Economic Community (IPA EurAsEC)
- Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (PA CSTO)
- Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC PU)
- Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD)
- Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA)
- Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TurkPA)
- Committee of Parliamentary Cooperation "Republic of Kazakhstan – European Union" (CPC RK-EU)
- The Senate has formed 1 commission and 44 friendship groups with parliaments of other countries.