Kazakhstan will have three new regions - Abay, Ulytau, and Zhetysu. President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev announced the news at a joint session of parliamentary chambers on March 16, reports Radio Azzatyq.
Where will the new regions be?
The Abay region will have the city of Semey as its administrative center and the Ulytau region’s administrative center will be Zhezkazgan.
The Almaty region will be divided into Zhetysu and Almaty, Tokayev said. Kapshagay will become the center of the Almaty region and Taldykorgan will be the center of the new Zhetysu region.
"There was a proposal to create the Abay region around Semey, which will become the regional center of the new 'oblast'. This issue has long been raised by the people of this region. Now in this region, there are many unresolved problems, and the internal infrastructure is very worn out."
On the formation of the Ulytau Region on the territory of the former Zhezkazgan Region, the president said that the creation of an independent region is an important decision "not only from the economic point of view but also from the spiritual one". Regarding the plan to divide the Almaty region into two parts, the president said that "there are many problems concerning the agglomeration of the city of Almaty".
"Residents of the region are concentrated mainly around this city. It is impossible to solve the issues of Uzynagash or Talgar, while located in the city of Taldykorgan," Tokayev said. At the same time, the president said that he is ready to support the renaming of Kapshagay city to Kunayev, in honor of the leader of Soviet Kazakhstan Dinmukhamed Kunayev.
About the Constitution
The president said that in order to implement the "large-scale initiatives significantly changing the political system and the administrative-territorial structure of the country" outlined in his message, about 30 amendments to the Constitution will have to be made.
He also proposed the creation of a Constitutional Court. In January 1993, independent Kazakhstan adopted its first Constitution and with it, the Constitutional Court, which led to the dissolution of the Supreme Soviet.
The new Constitution adopted in 1995 abolished the court itself, and in its place, a new body of constitutional oversight, the Constitutional Council, was established. According to experts, the Constitutional Court had greater competence. The Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan now has eight members.