CrisisWatch Kazakhstan

Unchanged Situation

Amid limited space for political campaigning, President Tokayev won landslide victory in snap election before reaffirming ties with Russia.

Re-election of Tokayev paves way for seven-year term. Kazakhs 20 Nov headed to polls to vote in snap presidential election, which incumbent President Tokayev won in landslide victory, securing over 80% of vote. Victory allows Tokayev to extend his presidential term by seven years under country’s new term limits. Tokayev’s Sept announcement to hold election gave his opponents little preparation time, raising concerns around lack of competition. Notably, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe observer mission 21 Nov said “early presidential election took place in a political environment lacking competitiveness, and while efficiently prepared, the election underlined the need for further reforms (…) to ensure genuine pluralism”.

Tokayev reaffirmed ties with Russia in first foreign visit since election. Tokayev 28 Nov met Russian President Putin in Moscow amid public disagreements over Ukraine; notably, Tokayev had declined to recognise Russia’s declared annexation of four Ukrainian regions. Still, Tokayev reaffirmed bilateral relations, saying “Russia is and has always been a strategic partner” while Putin hailed “special” relations between Moscow and Astana.

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