Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled the former Soviet Union’s second-biggest energy producer for more than a quarter century, won a fifth term by a landslide, an exit poll showed. The president got 97.5 percent of Sunday’s vote, according to a survey by the Institute of Democracy broadcast by the state-owned 24.kz TV channel. One of the two challengers was a senior member of his Nur Otan party and the other praised the president’s achievements during a campaign that international observers dubbed “practically unnoticeable.” Official results will be announced Monday.
“I personally voted for Kazakhstan’s future, for continuing the work we started so its results will be seen by this and future generations,” Nazarbayev said, according to a statement on his website before the poll was released.
The leader of the world’s biggest uranium producer has balanced between Kazakhstan’s two powerful neighbors Russia and China, while keeping tensions in check in a region that’s a complex patchwork of ethnic groups and that faces a rising threat of Islamic extremism.