Kassym-Jomart Tokaev unsurprisingly keeps his chair. The outgoing president of Kazakhstan was largely re-elected on Sunday, according to polls, at the head of the largest country in Central Asia, which has lived through a dark year between bloody riots and ruthless clan struggle.
According to three exit polls, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev obtained between 82.2% and 85.52% of the vote in this former Soviet republic where 69.43% of the 12 million voters voted, according to the first estimates of the Electoral Commission.
Riots brutally suppressed in January
Rich in natural resources and located at the crossroads of important trade routes, Kazakhstan descended into chaos in January when protests against high prices escalated into riots, only to be brutally put down. Balance sheet: 238 dead. The country remains traumatized by this crisis and, a sign that tensions persist, the authorities announced on Thursday that they had arrested seven supporters of an opponent in exile accused of fomenting a “coup d’etat”.
This early election was for the 69-year-old president a way to consolidate his power. This trained diplomat has transformed this year into a relentless leader, firing on rioters in January, arresting relatives of his predecessor and mentor Nursultan Nazarbayev, then standing up to the Russian president. Vladimir Poutine.
President calls campaign ‘fair and open’
This election is part of the long tradition of polls decided in advance in Kazakhstan, like previous presidential elections: 71% of the votes for Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in 2019 and 98% in 2015 for Nursultan Nazarbayev. Despite this overwhelming score and the absence of competition, the president considered that this campaign had been “fair and open”.
In Astana and Almaty, the two largest cities in the country, AFP saw several voters take pictures of themselves in front of polling stations, many voters citing the “obligation” to show the photo to their employer on Monday. About fifteen people also demonstrated in Almaty to demand free elections and were all arrested by the police.