Economic Cooperation Organization

Republic of Kazakhstan *

The Republic of Kazakhstan is bounded on the northwest and north by Russia, on the east by China, and on the south by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and the Aral Sea; the Caspian Sea bounds Kazakhstan to the southwest. Kazakhstan's 2,717,600 square kilometers make it by far the largest state in Central Asia and the ninth largest in the world.

In the early years of independence, a significant number of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan migrated to Russia. This emigration, along with a return to the country of ethnic Kazakhs, changed the demographic makeup of Kazakhstan: by the mid-1990s the Kazakh proportion was approaching half the total population, while that for the Russians was closer to one-third.

Kazakhstan's first post-independence Constitution was adopted in 1993, replacing the Soviet-era Constitution that had been in force since 1978. A new Constitution was approved in 1995. The 1995 Constitution provided for legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government dominated by strong executive. The 1995 Constitution established a bicameral legislature consisting of a Senate and an Assembly (Mazhlis). Working jointly, the two chambers have the authority to amend the Constitution, approve the budget, confirm presidential appointees, ratify treaties, declare war, and delegate legislative authority to the President for up to one year. Each chamber also has exclusive powers.

The President is the Head of State and is elected directly for a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms. The President appoints the Prime Minister and other ministers of the cabinet, as well as the chairperson of the National Security Committee. The President also appoints the heads of the local government entities, can reverse decisions made by these officials, and has broad authority to issue decrees and overrule actions taken by the ministries. The current President is H.E. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who assumed office in March 2019.

The highest judicial authority is the Supreme Court. There are also a number of lower courts; a Constitutional Council, the members of which are appointed by the President and legislature, reviews constitutional questions. Judges serve life terms and are appointed by the President, those of the Supreme Court are also subject to confirmation by the legislature.

Kazakhstan's great mineral resources and arable lands have long aroused the envy of outsiders. Among the most important minerals are copper in the central areas and in Aqtebe (Aktyubinsk) province; lead, zinc, and silver in the Rudnyy Altai area and the Dzungarian Alatau and Qaratau (Karatau) spurs; tungsten and tin in the Kolbin Ridge and southern Altai; chromites, nickel, and cobalt in the Mugozhar Hills; titanium, manganese, and antimony in the central regions; vanadium in the south; and gold in the north and east. In 1993 Kazakhstan finalized a contract with the Chevron Corporation to exploit the reserves of the Tengiz oil field, one of the world's largest. In the mid-1990s agreements also were sought with foreign investors for the development of oil and natural gas from the Tengiz, Zhusan, Temir, and Karachaganak wells. The profitability of such ventures rested principally on the establishment of new pipelines.

* The data and statistics here are reproduced from the following UN source: