Kazakh President Tokayev wins re-election with 81.3% of vote

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Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has secured a second time period in a snap election, successful 81.Three p.c of the vote.

The Central Asian nation’s Central Election Commission made the announcement on Monday citing preliminary knowledge.

Tokayev had been extensively anticipated to increase his rule over the oil-rich nation by seven extra years with a powerful mandate to proceed his more and more unbiased overseas coverage, as the previous Soviet republic navigates the Russia-Ukraine disaster.

“We can say that the people have expressed convincing confidence in me as president and all of you,” Tokayev, 69, informed his employees earlier, referring to exit polls that favoured him.

The marketing campaign would “go down in history”, the previous diplomat added.

Tokayev confronted no actual opposition candidates in a nation the place critics are sidelined and all 5 of his opponents had been just about unknown.

Voter turnout was 69.Four p.c, with 5 different candidates scoring within the low single digits, knowledge confirmed. Voters’ second hottest selection was “against everyone” with 5.eight p.c of ballots.

Prompted by the exit polls, a number of fellow Central Asian leaders congratulated Tokayev on Monday earlier than the preliminary outcomes.

Tokayev gained his first election in 2019 with the backing of his predecessor, Nursultan Nazarbayev, however the two fell out this 12 months amid violent unrest within the nation of 20 million. Sunday’s vote consolidated his energy as an unbiased chief.

In lower than a 12 months, Tokayev suppressed the worst anti-government demonstrations in his nation’s historical past, neutralised his omnipotent predecessor, and stood as much as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

When he took over, he was anticipated to manipulate within the shadow and on the behest of his predecessor and mentor: Nazarbayev, who had dominated since 1991.

Nazarbayev retained the title of “Elbasy” – “head of the nation” within the Kazakh language.

This gave him big affect over politics and his clan retained management over the energy-rich nation’s financial system.

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‘Shoot to kill’

For two-and-a-half years, Tokayev – a gentle hand recognized for missing charisma – performed the position of a loyal successor. That modified in January.

Protests broke out throughout the huge nation that become violent unrest and centred on Kazakhstan’s financial centre, Almaty.

Tokayev confirmed a ruthless aspect, ordering legislation enforcement to “shoot to kill” demonstrators. He additionally reduce off communication with the skin world and known as on Moscow to ship troops to assist.

The deployment of Moscow-led “peacekeeping” forces suppressed the rebellion, which some observers believed might need led to Tokayev’s fall. The chaos ended with 238 lifeless in 9 days.

Determined to cement his authority, Tokayev promptly informed Putin that Russian troopers should go away. And in a shock move, he broke together with his mentor Nazarbayev, purging his household from positions of authority and promising a “new and just Kazakhstan”.

The octogenarian ex-leader was disadvantaged of his powers, some kin had been imprisoned, and he was compelled to publicly swear allegiance to Tokayev.

In the method, the brand new chief introduced reforms, a constitutional referendum, and launched single presidential phrases of seven years, triggering an early poll on November 20.

In a closing nail pushed into the coffin of the Nazarbayev period, the capital metropolis – renamed within the dictator’s honour in 2019 – regained its identify of Astana in September this 12 months.

Despite Tokayev purging Nazarbayev, the overhaul represents the liberalisation of an authoritarian state.

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Ukraine issues

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has reawakened Kazakh issues that Moscow could have ambitions on the north of the nation, home to about three million ethnic Russians.

Kazakhstan and Russia share a 7,500km-long (about 4,660 miles) border.

Tokayev publicly clashed with Putin on a go to to St Petersburg in June, criticising Moscow’s move to recognise Ukrainian separatist areas that it has since claimed to have annexed.

Sitting subsequent to the Kremlin chief, Tokayev mentioned recognising separatist authorities all over the world would “lead to chaos”.

Four months later, when Putin introduced the mobilisation of tens of 1000’s of reservists, Tokayev opened the borders and welcomed a flood of Russians fleeing the military.

He known as on Kazakhs to “take care of them and ensure their security”.

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