In Kazakhstan, the issue of reforming the system of local self-governance (LSG) has been relevant for a long period of time. The introduction of LSG within 2 years was included as an article in the 1995 Constitution of the RK. In 2001, experimental elections of rural akims were held in 28 rural districts on the basis of the indirect voting mechanism. In 2012, the Concept of Development of Local Self-Governance in the Republic of Kazakhstan was approved. In his 2020 Address, President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev again actualized the issue of electing heads of rural settlements, noting that "public opinion polls show an increased demand for the election of rural akims". According to the national plan of measures to implement the Address, it was planned to hold direct elections of akims of rural settlements, whose powers expire in 2021.
Centre "Strategia" implemented this research project in the context of the 2021 election campaign for the election of akims of rural settlements in Kazakhstan. In order to understand the opportunities and risks associated with holding elections at the local level by direct voting, the situation on the ground was analyzed using sociological methods.