Ruling party claims usual landslide victory in Kazakh poll

By bne IntelliNews March 21, 2016

Kazakhstan’s ruling party, Nur Otan, chaired by strongman President Nursultan Nazarbayev, has claimed a victory in a snap parliamentary election on March 20, according to preliminary results of the poll published by the Central Election Commission on March 21.

Nur Otan received 82.15% of the vote, the Ak zhol party came second with 7.18% and People’s Communist Party is the third party to enter parliament with 7.14%. The other three parties failed to clear a 7% threshold. According to preliminary results, the turnout stood at 77.1%.

The election results show that the composition of the Mazhilis, the lower chamber of the Kazakh parliament, will remain unchanged: Nur Otan held 83 seats in the previous parliament with 81% of the vote, while two other pro-presidential parties, Ak Zhol and the Communist People’s Party, had eight and seven MPs respectively, with 7.5% and 7.2% of the vote.

As expected the president’s party marginally improved its previous standing in a sign of popular support for the president, his party and policies. Last year Nazarbayev was re-elected for another five-year term with 98% of the vote on a 95% turnout in a snap presidential election. “People has again shown trust in the direction we are conducting and in the programmes and platforms adopted by Nur Otan and all programmes the party has offered in the past. Objectives set before us are very simple: it is a victory. This is people’s trust. Look at 82%. Which party in the world can even dream of such figures,” Nazarbayev said after the polls closed.

Kazakhstan has never had an election – presidential or parliamentary – regarded as “free and fair” by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the election and human rights watchdog. The OSCE has not yet published the results of its election monitoring but observers from CIS countries rushed to praise the conduct of the election as compliant with democratic standards.

That Nur Otan would claim a landslide victory was always a foregone conclusion.  On March 17 Radio Azattyq (the Kazakh Service of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) published a video of preparations in Astana for the celebrations of Nur Otan’s victory in the election.

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