President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Monday extended his rule over Kazakhstan into a third decade with a crushing 95 percent victory in elections that observers said fell well short of democratic standards.
The Central Election Commission said the first official results showed the incumbent had won 95.5 percent of the vote on mass turnout of 89.9 percent — both figures beating Nazarbayev’s performance in his last re-election in 2005. The victory gives the 70-year-old — who has ruled Kazakhstan since even before the collapse of the Soviet Union — a third decade of power and keep any uncertainty over who will one day succeed him on the backburner.
But international observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) immediately cast a shadow over his triumph, slamming the polls as short of “genuine democratic” standards. Daan Everts, the head of the long-term election observation mission said: “Regrettably we have to conclude that this election could and should have been better.
It showed the urgency of implementing the long-awaited reforms.” “Needed reforms for holding genuine democratic elections still have to materialise as this election revealed shortcomings similar to those in previous elections,” the observer mission said in a statement. The observers reported “serious irregularities, including numerous instances of seemingly identical signatures on voter lists and cases of ballot box stuffing,” the statement added.
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