Ruling party expected to sweep Kazakh parliamentary elections

ALMATY: Kazakhstan voted on Sunday in a snap parliamentary election that is expected to cement President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s grip on power and complete a ruling elite reshuffle that began after he fully assumed leadership l ‘last year.
By the time polling stations across the country closed, 54.2% of voters had voted, the Central Election Commission said. Exit poll results are expected after midnight (1800 GMT), with official data due out on Monday.
A stronger mandate will help Tokayev weather the regional turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting damage to trade, investment and supply chains across the former Soviet Union. .
Although he officially became president in 2019, Tokayev, 69, had remained in the shadow of his predecessor and former patron Nursultan Nazarbayev until January 2022, when the two fell out amid a coup attempt and violent unrest.
Tokaev ousted Nazarbayev, after suppressing political unrest in the oil-rich Central Asian country, and removed a number of his associates from senior public sector positions, some of whom were later charged with corruption.
While Tokayev reshuffled the government, the lower house of parliament – elected when Nazarbayev always had sweeping powers and directed power Nur NATO party – was not to be elected until 2026, and the president called for an early vote.
Unlike Nazarbayev, Tokayev has opted not to lead the ruling party, renamed Amanat, but polls show he is likely to retain a comfortable majority and form the core of his support base in the legislature, particularly in the absence of strong opposition parties on the ballot. .
However, for the first time in nearly two decades, several opposition figures are running as independents, a move that could allow some government critics to win a limited number of seats.
Yet in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city that typically shows the most support for the opposition, voting seemed slow on Sunday morning amid a heavy police presence in the streets.
“We keep complaining that nothing is changing in our country and we ourselves are not participating in the political life of our country,” said Yevgeniya, a 36-year-old marketing executive who declined to give her last name or name. say who she voted for. “Getting out and voting is the least we can do to effect change.”
Tokayev, who voted in Astana early in the morning without speaking to the press, said the vote would allow him to start implementing his plan to reform the country and ensure a fairer distribution of its oil wealth.
The completion of the political transition is also likely to strengthen Tokayev’s hand in foreign policy. Although he received support from Moscow during the 2022 unrest, he refused to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or recognize its annexation of certain Ukrainian territories.
Astana tries to maintain good relations both with Moscow, its neighbor and major trading partner, and with the West, which seeks to isolate Russia.


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