Kazakh President Tokayev wins re-election with 81.3 per cent of vote

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took over as Head of State following presidential elections in Kazakhstan. Photo: Modern Diplomacy. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

ASTANA, Nov 21, 2022, Reuters. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev secured a second term in Sunday’s snap election, winning 81.31% of the vote, the central Asian nation’s Central Election Commission said on Monday, citing preliminary data.

He 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.

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

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

Voter turnout was 69.44%, with five other candidates scoring in the low single digits, data showed. Voters’ second most popular choice was “against everyone”, with 5.8% of ballots.

Observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe said the vote underlined the need for further legal reforms to ensure genuine pluralism.

“The incumbent stood as the joint candidate of all parliamentary parties and, in effect, was not meaningfully challenged in a low-key campaign,” the mission said.

Prompted by the exit polls, several fellow central Asian leaders congratulated Tokayev on Monday before the preliminary results. Congratulations from Beijing and Moscow came after the official announcement.

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

“Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s re-election as president for the next seven years means stability, predictability, and a renewed commitment to our time tested multi-vector, pragmatic and balanced foreign policy,” Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko said.

“The new strong mandate from the people also gives President Tokayev a stronger background from which to pursue the promised reforms aimed at building a just and fair Kazakhstan, including strengthening the rule of law, which surely is a welcome sign as far as foreign audiences, primarily businesses, are concerned.”

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