President Tokayev was re-elected in Kazakhstan with 82 percent of the vote. The polls’ victory follows reforms after violent demonstrations against the power of the ruling elite earlier this year.
Former diplomat Tokayev, 69, was handpicked in 2019 to succeed Nursultan Nazarbayev, the autocrat who has led the country for decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. After his resignation, Nazarbayev continued to wield significant influence behind the scenes as head of the powerful National Security Council with confidants in important positions.
But his position began to waver early this year as protests against doubling fuel prices turned into protests against the gang that had ruled the country for decades. Protests during which government buildings were stormed It lasted for days.
interventions and commitments
President Tokayev intervened to put an end to the unrest, which he said was caused by “foreign terrorists” taking advantage of the legitimate objections of their compatriots. Thousands of people were arrested and nearly 250 people were killed. With the deployment of Russian forces I finally succeeded to suppress protests.
At the same time, Tokayev arrived to help. Not only were the price hikes reversed, but the power of Nazarbayev and his clan was also curtailed and a law granting immunity to the Nazarbayev family was repealed. In addition, the capital, which was renamed Nur-Sultan in honor of Nazarbayev in 2019, is back again. It is called Astana.
Tokayev also limited the number of terms a future president could receive to one, though he extended that term from two years to seven. In order to get a mandate for the changes, Tokayev brought forward the election date from 2024 to yesterday in September. Early parliamentary elections will be held next year.
Contradictions are impossible
Despite cautious democratic reforms, it was clear in advance who would be the winner in the elections. Tokayev did not bother to discuss the other five candidates.
OSCE election observers decried the fact that other candidates received little attention and that all of the country’s media favored Tokayev. Due to the short campaign period, the opposing candidates did not have a chance to put forward their points.
However, the elections passed peacefully. In Almaty, the country’s largest city, there were only small protests, with dozens of demonstrators arrested for disturbing the peace.
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