According to official figures, as expected, President Tokayev won the snap elections in Kazakhstan. Largely unknown candidates competed against him.
In the oil and gas-rich former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, according to preliminary information, President Kasım-Jomart Tokayev won the presidential election as expected. The central election commission in Astana announced on Monday that Tokayev was re-elected with 81.31 percent of the vote.
In Sunday’s elections, the five rival candidates achieved results between 2.1 and 3.4 percent only. However, 5.8 percent of the voters ticked the “Against all” box on the ballot. Voter turnout was 69.4 percent, according to Kasinform state agency.
Elections not scheduled until 2024
The election was originally scheduled for 2024, in September the head of state announced the date of early elections. In 2019, 69-year-old Tokayev replaced longtime President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled Kazakhstan with an iron fist for almost three decades.
Nazarbayev was the first to congratulate Tokayev on his re-election. The former president praised Tokayev’s stance at a “critical time” for the country, saying the victory was “undeniable proof of the people’s unwavering confidence in reforms”.
Protests suppressed with blood
Tokayev is in a power struggle with the clan of former ruler Nazarbayev. Tokayev also distanced himself from Russian President Vladimir Putin for rejecting Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.
In early January, mass protests were held against rising gas prices in the raw material-rich former Soviet republic. The protests later turned into nationwide anti-government demonstrations. The protests were bloodily suppressed, 238 people were killed.
About 15 demonstrators demanding free and fair elections were arrested in Almaty on Sunday, AFP reporters reported. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior confirmed the number to AFP. Prior to the election, election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) criticized the organization of the vote.
During the election campaign, Tokayev promised a “New Kazakhstan” with democratic progress and economic reforms. However, economic problems and authoritarian reflexes of the leadership continue in the largest country in Central Asia.
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