conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan

conventional short form: Kazakhstan

local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy

local short form: Qazaqstan

former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the name "Kazakh" may derive from the Turkic word "kaz" meaning "to wander," recalling the Kazakh's nomadic lifestyle; the Persian suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so the word Kazakhstan literally means "Land of the Wanderers"

Government type
presidential republic

Capital
name: Nur-Sultan

geographic coordinates: 51 10 N, 71 25 E

time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

time zone note: Kazakhstan has two time zones

etymology: on 20 March 2019, Kazakhstan changed the name of its capital city from Astana to Nur-Sultan in honor of its long-serving, recently retired president, Nursultan NAZARBAYEV; this was not the first time the city had its name changed; founded in 1830 as Akmoly, it became Akmolinsk in 1832, Tselinograd in 1961, Akmola (Aqmola) in 1992, and Astana in 1998

Administrative divisions
14 provinces (oblyslar, singular - oblys) and 4 cities* (qalalar, singular - qala); Almaty (Taldyqorghan), Almaty*, Aqmola (Kokshetau), Aqtobe, Atyrau, Batys Qazaqstan [West Kazakhstan] (Oral), Bayqongyr*, Mangghystau (Aqtau), Nur-Sultan*, Pavlodar, Qaraghandy, Qostanay, Qyzylorda, Shyghys Qazaqstan [East Kazakhstan] (Oskemen), Shymkent*, Soltustik Qazaqstan [North Kazakhstan] (Petropavl), Turkistan, Zhambyl (Taraz)

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses); in 1995, the Governments of Kazakhstan and Russia entered into an agreement whereby Russia would lease for a period of 20 years an area of 6,000 sq km enclosing the Baikonur space launch facilities and the city of Bayqongyr (Baikonur, formerly Leninsk); in 2004, a new agreement extended the lease to 2050

Independence
16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday
Independence Day, 16 December (1991)

Constitution
history: previous 1937, 1978 (preindependence), 1993; latest approved by referendum 30 August 1995, effective 5 September 1995

amendments: introduced by a referendum initiated by the president of the republic, on the recommendation of Parliament, or by the government; the president has the option of submitting draft amendments to Parliament or directly to a referendum; passage of amendments by Parliament requires four-fifths majority vote of both houses and the signature of the president; passage by referendum requires absolute majority vote by more than one half of the voters in at least two thirds of the oblasts, major cities, and the capital, followed by the signature of the president; amended several times, last in 2019

Legal system
civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and by the theory and practice of the Russian Federation

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Kazakhstan

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
chief of state: President Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV (since 20 March 2019); note - Nursultan NAZARBAYEV, who was president since 24 April 1990 (and in power since 22 June 1989 under the Soviet period), resigned on 20 March 2019; NAZARBAYEV retained the title and powers of "First President"; TOKAYEV completed NAZARBAYEV's term, which was shortened due to the early election of 9 June 2019, and then continued as president following his election victory

head of government: Prime Minister Alikhan SMAILOV (since 11 January 2022); note - Prime Minister Askar MAMIN resigned on 5 January 2022 in the wake of massive protests of his government that began 2 January 2022 following a sudden, steep rise in gasoline prices

cabinet: the president appoints ministers after consultations with the Chair of the Security Council (NAZARBAYEV) who has veto power over all appointments except for the ministers of defense, internal affairs, and foreign affairs; however, the president is required to discuss these three offices with the National Security Committee, which NAZARBAYEV chairs under a lifetime appointment; however, in January 2022, the Mazhilis of Kazakhstan canceled Nursultan NAZARBAYEV’s lifelong chairmanship of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second consecutive term); election last held on 9 June 2019 (next to be held in 2024); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president, approved by the Mazhilis

election results: Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV elected president; percent of vote - Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV (Nur Otan) 71%, Amirzhan KOSANOV (Ult Tagdyry) 16.2%, Daniya YESPAYEVA (Ak Zhol) 5.1%, other 7.7%

Legislative branch
description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (49 seats statutory, 48 as of October 2021); 34 members indirectly elected by 2-round majority vote by the oblast-level assemblies and 15 members appointed by decree of the president; members serve 6-year terms, with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years)
Mazhilis (107 seats; 98 members directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and 9 indirectly elected by the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, a 351-member, presidentially appointed advisory body designed to represent the country's ethnic minorities)

elections:
Senate - last held on 12 August 2020 (next to be held in August 2023)
Mazhilis - last held on 10 January 2021 (next to be held in 2026)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition (as of October 2021) - men 39, women 9, percent of women 18.4%
Mazhilis - percent of vote by party - Nur Otan 71.1%, Ak Zhol 11%, People's Party 9.1%, other 8.8%; seats by party - Nur Otan 76, Ak Zhol 12, People's Party 10; composition (as of October 2021) - men 78, women 29, percent of women 27.1%; note - total Parliament percent of women 24.4%

Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of 44 members); Constitutional Council (consists of the chairperson and 6 members)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the president of the republic on recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council and confirmed by the Senate; judges normally serve until age 65 but can be extended to age 70; Constitutional Council - the president of the republic, the Senate chairperson, and the Mazhilis chairperson each appoints 2 members for a 6-year term; chairperson of the Constitutional Council appointed by the president for a 6-year term

subordinate courts: regional and local courts

Political parties and leaders
Adal [Serik SULTANGALI] (formerly Birlik (Unity) Party)
Ak Zhol (Bright Path) Party or Democratic Party of Kazakhstan Ak Zhol [Azat PERUASHEV]
Amanat [Kasym-Zhomart TOKAYEV] (formerly Nur Otan (Radiant Fatherland))
National Social Democratic Party or NSDP [Zharmakhan TUYAKBAY]
People's Democratic (Patriotic) Party "Auyl" [Ali BEKTAYEV]
People's Party of Kazakhstan [Aikyn KONUROV]