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

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A former diplomat, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev faced no real opposition candidates in a nation where critics are sidelined and all five of his competitors were virtually unknown.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has secured a second term in a snap election, winning 81.3 percent of the vote.

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

Tokayev had been widely expected to extend his rule over the oil-rich nation by seven more years with a strong mandate to continue his increasingly independent foreign policy, as the former Soviet republic navigates the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

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

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

Tokayev faced no real opposition candidates in a nation where critics are sidelined and all five of his competitors were virtually unknown.

Voter turnout was 69.4 percent, with five other candidates scoring in the low single digits, data showed. Voters’ second most popular choice was “against everyone” with 5.8 percent of ballots.

Prompted by the exit polls, several fellow Central Asian leaders congratulated Tokayev on Monday before the preliminary results.

Tokayev won his first election in 2019 with the backing of his predecessor, Nursultan Nazarbayev, but the two fell out this year amid violent unrest in the nation of 20 million. Sunday’s vote consolidated his power as an independent leader.

In less than a year, Tokayev suppressed the worst anti-government demonstrations in his country’s history, neutralized his all-powerful predecessor, and stood up to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Agencies

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