» 04/04/2011, 00.00
Presidential election, Nazarbayev wins with 95% of the votes
Early polls show an overwhelming consensus for the outgoing Head of State. 90% of those eligible participated in the election, compared to 76% of the previous presidential election in 2007. The former Communist leader states "well-being" more important than "democracy."
Astana (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The controversial Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev has won yesterday’s presidential election with 95% of the vote, according to early polls by two specialist companies. The Electoral Commission reports that about 90% of the over 9 million eligible voters took part, with a marked increase of 76.8% compared to the previous consultations. After expressing his preference, the outgoing president urged the people to remain "united" to "achieve our goals."
70 year old Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has led the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan for over 20 years. Opponents say they did not have enough time to prepare for the elections, decided less than two months ago by the Head of State (see AsiaNews, 04/02/11 President Nazarbayev sets 3 April for his re-election ). With a constitutional change implemented in 2007, the former leader of the Communist Party has removed the term limit, ensuring re-election for life.
The current mandate was scheduled to end in 2012, but Nazarbayez called early elections to dispel doubts about the vote’s unconstitutionality. International analysts point out that the massive percentage registered by the outgoing president testifies to the weakness of the opposition, having failed to propose a candidate capable of countering the power of the former communist leader.
There were three challengers who participated in the vote yesterday in Kazakhstan: the exponent of the Green party Mels Yeleusizov, the candidate of the Patriotic Party, Gani Kasymov and Zhambyl Akhmetbekov of the Communist Party. Following the vote, President Nazarbayev - Nur Otan party leader - said that "well-being comes before democracy:" The task of modernizing the state and society - he said - is still huge, so the vote today will be a test of our union and the desire to achieve our goals. "
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He came to power as Secretary of the Communist Party, a close associate of Gorbacev, he managed to always hold on to power. Opponents say he has crushed the nascent democracy. But others praise him for the economic development and stability of the country.
Nazarbayev re-elected president with 97.7% of the votes
The Kazakh leader wins a new mandate and promises stability and prosperity. But he faces the challenge of an economy slowing under the weight of the drop in oil prices and the scenario of a succession crisis.
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An early election, before the end of President Nazarbayevâ€™s mandate (2016), would reconfirm the leader who has ruled the country for 26 years and eliminate any speculation about his succession.
Kazakhstan launches into intense diplomatic activity as it begins its stint at the helm of OCSE
The former Soviet republic took over the OCSE presidency on 1 January. Human rights groups criticise the decision because the Central Asian nation does not adequately respect human rights and religious freedom. For its part, Astana wants to focus on former Soviet republics and economic issues.
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Despite "residue" from the one-time Soviet dictatorship, Kazakhstan is a model of democracy and freedom of worship for Central Asia.
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