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20 Nov, 2022 22:14

Kazakh president wins snap election – exit polls

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has won over 82% of votes, preliminary results show
Kazakh president wins snap election – exit polls

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev secured a new term in a snap election on Sunday, winning an overwhelming majority of votes, according to multiple exit polls. Tokayev himself hailed the campaign as “fair and open.”

The best result has been projected by the research institute of Kazakhstan’s ruling party Amanat, suggesting that over 85.5% of voters cast their ballots for Tokayev. A poll conducted by the international Open Society showed a slightly lower figure, with some 82.45% support projected.

The SOCIS-A institute yielded a similar result, with 82% citizens backing Tokayev.

According to official statistics, nearly 70% of eligible voters showed up at the polling stations. Aside from Tokayev, five other candidates took part in the election. However, they appeared to be largely unknown in the country, local media reported. 

Speaking after the first exit poll results emerged, Tokayev said all the contenders were provided equal opportunities during the electoral campaign.

“They freely visited the regions, met with voters, campaigned. There were no restrictions on anyone. Each voter was given freedom of choice. So this campaign was fair and open,” the president stated.

Kazakhstan’s election comes after the country amended its сonstitution in the aftermath of violent unrest that rocked it early this year. The ultimate goal of the amendments, according to Tokayev, was shaping the “superpresidential” republic into its more balanced presidential form. Under the new rules, a person is eligible for a single seven-year presidential term.

Tokayev first ascended to power in 2019, taking office after the decades-long rule of Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who assumed a lifetime role as head of the national Security Council instead.

Following a wave of civil unrest in January, Nazarbayev was deposed from the position, also stepping down from a leadership role in his Nur Otan party (rebranded as Amanat later this year). Multiple officials, linked or even related to Nazarbayev, have been dislodged from their posts as well, with some even targeted by criminal probes. In addition, Tokayev reversed one of his first decisions in office and renamed the capital city of Nur-Sultan back to Astana.