Kazakh ruling party sweeps vote criticised as uncompetitive - Metro US

Kazakh ruling party sweeps vote criticised as uncompetitive

Members of a local electoral commission count ballots after polls closed during a parliamentary election in Almaty

ALMATY (Reuters) – Early data suggested the Nur Otan party headed by Kazakhstan’s former president Nursultan Nazarbayev has won a landslide victory in Sunday’s parliamentary election, although Western observers say the vote as uncompetitive.

Such a result was widely expected as no opposition groups ran in the vote and the party has dominated the oil-rich Central Asian nation’s landscape for decades.

The central election commission cited preliminary data on Monday as showing that Nur Otan, of which President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is also a senior member, won 71.09% of the vote.

“The campaign was not competitive, and contestants did not substantially challenge their rivals on their political platforms,” observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a statement.

“All contesting parties expressly supported presidential policies, limiting the choice for voters.”

Tokayev, a close ally of Nazarbayev who took over after his resignation in 2019, has said he would liberalise the political system and oversaw moves such as easing the requirements for registering political parties.

But OSCE observers said many of the human rights watchdog’s recommendations were yet to be implemented. Others saw the vote results as a welcome sign of stability.

“We believe the status quo will be preserved after the elections, with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev able to maintain consensus among Kazakhstan’s elites,” Yuriy Vlasov, a senior analyst at the Sova Capital brokerage, said in a note.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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