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February 9, 2023

Results of presidential elections in Kazakhstan

Once again in Kazakhstan the early presidential elections were won by a landslide by Nursultan Nazarbayev, the incumbent Head of the State. 97.7% of voters voted for him. The turnout of voters reached a record of 95.22% per cent of all the citizens with the right to vote.

On April 26 in Kazakhstan were held early presidential elections. These are the second early elections for the last five years. Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been holding presidency for more than 20 years, won the elections by a landslide. According to the law, the First president of sovereign Kazakhstan can run in an election for the unlimited number of times. This is due to the fact that the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan is associated by the citizens of the country with the long-awaited (for the first time in 300 years) independence and many successes over the years of sovereignty. (On the analogy with the head of Turkey Ataturk).

This year there were three candidates fighting for the first chair of Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev, Turgun Syzdykov, the representative of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan and Abelgazi Kusainov, the trade union leader of the republic.

During the elections Syzdykov got 1.6% of the votes, Kusainov got 0.7% taking second and third places respectively.

It is interesting that for the first time for all pre-election campaigns of the recent years, the election platforms of the candidates were strikingly different from each other.

Nursultan Nazarbayev promised his voters economic reforms. Actually, his program included all the public strategies for medium and long-term development of the last few years. However, the key basis was the anti-crisis program proposed by Nazarbayev in the autumn of the last year “Nurly Zhol”. It formed the basis of his campaign promises.

In particular, it speaks about the Government’s policy for creation of a large number of jobs through the implementation of infrastructure projects. Including the construction of roads. (Kazakhstan plans to leverage its geopolitical position. And to become a “bridge” for transshipment of goods from China to Europe and back). Besides this, the Nazarbayev’s strategy suggests gradual restructuring of the economy and weakening of the “Dutch disease” (today the budget of Kazakhstan depends on oil exports for more than one-third).

Together with this, Nursultan Nazarbayev’s election program contained proposals for the improvement of the social situation in the country: modernization of the education and health care systems, as well as growth of the population’s welfare. Currently, Kazakhstan is among the most competitive countries of the world and with its standard of living has reached the middle-income countries (in 2014 the per capita GDP s amounted to 13 thousand dollars). The short-term plan (up to 2050) of Kazakhstan is to enter the top thirty of the world developed countries.

Even if these plans seem ambitious, the population believes Nazarbayev. The fact is that until now the incumbent and the already re-elected president of Kazakhstan has never deceived them: all the expressed intentions were implemented. And today, Kazakhstan is one of the most successfully developing countries of the former USSR.

Besides this, the citizens of Kazakhstan associate peace and tolerance policy between 140 nationalities living in the country, only with Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Moreover, opinion polls have shown that up to the present time Kazakhstan had politician who could maintain stability in the country in such a successful way if getting the power.

As for the election programs of other candidates, they were not of large scale.

Turgun Syzdykov, the candidate of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan, together with communist slogans, was focused on anti-Western theses. So, he opposed the dominance of Western culture, including television and cinematography. He declared that the products of Hollywood “distribute the standards of an easy carefree life, full of hypocrisy and cowardice.” He also criticized the unhealthy diet in the western countries and the problem of youth education. For Kazakhstan youth Syzdykov was going to offer “a chance for self-realization,” “equal starting opportunities, effective social lifts and high social ideals.”

However, he did not offer anything that would barrier the penetration of these “wrong things” into Kazakhstan.

Actually, the election program of the candidate from the Communist party is the shortest election platform not only at these, but at all previous Kazakhstan presidential elections, just half a page of text.

Another candidate, Abelgazi Kusainov, the Chairman of the Association of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, followed the path of Albert Gore: he chose environment as his direction. “In the era of technological progress “green” sphere becomes more vulnerable. That is why our primary objective should be rational and planned use of natural resources, protection of the environment against pollution and introduction of a planned system of state control,” – he said at the voters’ meetings. He called to “be more attentive to the issues of environment conservation and rational use of natural resources. To establish systematic control over the use of land, water, forests, minerals and other natural resources by enterprises and organizations. To become more attentive to the issues of prevention of soil, surface water and groundwater pollution. To pay more attention to the conservation of water protection and protective functions of forests, to conservation and reproduction of flora and fauna and to prevention of air pollution. To introduce the system of industrial safety”.

However, as well as Gore the “green theme” did not help the Kazakh candidate to win the presidential elections.

Maybe, such a narrow focus of the election programs have led to such a low percentage of voters who voted for these candidates.

The only thing that united all three presidential candidates was their unconditional support for the ideas of Eurasian integration within the Eurasian Economic Union. Against the economic problems in Russia, the largest EAEC member, in Kazakhstan they were loudly speaking about the profitability of such integration. In addition, national patriots have recently led up to the possible loss of sovereignty in case of strengthening of the integration processes and enhanced Moscow lobbying of own interests. However, at the official level, including the politicians during the election campaign, the possibility to refuse the continued existence under the EAEC was not considered.

And again, Nursultan Nazarbayev won the fifth in row elections of the President of Kazakhstan. Once again he proved the fact that the population does not see the politicians whom they can entrust their future.

However, according to some rumors which are discussed in Astana, this election will be the last for the 75-year-old politician. During the new presidential term, he is likely to prepare a successor. He will represent the “Nur Otan” party (Nazarbayev is its leader) at the next presidential elections.



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