Polls shut in Kazakhstan snap presidential election

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President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is extensively anticipated to win Sunday’s election over 5 little-known candidates.

Polls have closed in Kazakhstan, the place the incumbent President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is extensively anticipated to safe a simple victory in a snap election, solidifying his grip on energy lower than a yr after he sidelined his long-ruling, authoritarian predecessor.

The Sunday election comes after bloody unrest shook the nation this yr and Tokayev moved to stifle the affect of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Five candidates have been on the poll towards Tokayev, however with a brief marketing campaign interval that started in late October, they’d little alternative to mount vital challenges. Opinion polls have predicted not one of the 5 different candidates would rating within the double digits.

Tokayev, apparently assured of holding a robust benefit, stayed away from a nationally televised election debate.

The former diplomat, who got here to energy in 2019 as Nazarbayev’s hand-picked successor when the nation’s solely ruler for the reason that Soviet period stepped down, broke along with his ex-patron after a January rebellion that Tokayev known as a coup try.

A brand new election victory – a foregone conclusion towards the 5 little-known candidates – will give Tokayev, 69, the form of overwhelming private mandate that Nazarbayev routinely secured as he constructed a persona cult over 5 successive phrases.

Tokayev
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (proper), seen right here with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, has taken steps to maintain Kazakhstan’s distance from longtime ally and dominant regional energy Russia [Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters]

Tokayev stated on Sunday that he would proceed “resetting” the political system by calling an early parliamentary election subsequent yr. Tokayev give up the ruling Amanat get together this yr and oversaw reforms making it simpler to determine new political events.

The nationwide elections fee stated about 69 % of the voters had voted by the top of the day (14:00 GMT). Data from a number of exit polls shall be printed after midnight (18:00 GMT) and preliminary outcomes of the vote are anticipated on Monday.

The election for a seven-year time period comes as Tokayev has taken steps to maintain Kazakhstan’s distance from longtime ally and dominant regional energy Russia. Tokayev known as on Russian assist to place down the unrest, however has since averted giving public backing to Russia’s struggle in Ukraine.

Russia is Kazakhstan’s largest buying and selling companion, and Russia’s slide into recession has harm Kazakh financial development, whereas the energy of the rouble boosted by capital controls has helped push inflation in Kazakhstan to a 14-year excessive.

Police detained just a few dozen individuals who staged small-scale protests towards the vote in Almaty, calling it unlawful, based on opposition teams and native media. Police stated some have been quickly launched, whereas others confronted misdemeanour prices.

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