Kazakhs vote for new president on Sunday

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W MUSAVIR:

NUR-SULTAN: On June 9, Kazakhstan holds extraordinary presidential elections – the first in the modern history of the country, in which the country’s First President Nursultan Nazarbayev is not participating as a candidate.

Voter turnout at 8 p.m. stood at 77 percent, according to the country’s Central Election Commission.

The 78-year-old Nazarbayev, who was in power for almost three decades, resigned last March. Less than three weeks after Nazarbayev’s resignation, the newly installed president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the ex-speaker of the Senate of Parliament, called the early presidential election to remove ambiguity about
the future course of the country.

Seven candidates have been registered to run, including Tokayev, who was nominated by the ruling party headed by Nazarbayev, as well as Daniya Yespayeva, the first woman in Kazakhstan’s history to
run for the highest office.

Tokayev voted at an Astana Opera polling station saying that the day of election is a special day for the country, even historical.

“Citizens, taking advantage of the constitutional law, vote at the polling stations. This is the choice of the future of the country. Elections are a holiday, in my opinion. Unity is the main thing in our country. We all have to cherish it as the apple of an eye. Congratulations! Elections are held according to the democratic principle, there is no doubt. We have done everything possible. Now comes a very crucial moment. Our people have never been indifferent to political processes,” he told dozens of the reporters who gathered at the spot.

Nazarbayev voted at a polling station in the capital’s Schoolchildren’s Palace. Having voted, he also addressed the media: “Dear Kazakhstan citizens! Today, the presidential election is taking place. The
people choose not only a person, they choose their future, their fate.”

“In our country, as in all democratic states, power should change, new generations should come with new thoughts. They will lead Kazakhstan to new heights. My decision to relinquish power was received
worldwide with approval. I received letters and calls from many states’ leaders who believe Kazakhstan did the right thing in a democratic way, quietly, without perturbations, and conducts the transit of
power. And today, all the people at 10,000 polling stations in Kazakhstan vote for their choice of a new president,” Nazarbayev said.

As of 20:00 on June 9, 2019, according to the data provided by election commissions of oblasts, cities of republican significance, and the capital, 77 % of the total number of voters included in the lists received
ballots. Including: Akmola oblast – 83 %, Aktobe oblast – 84.6 %, Almaty oblast – 89 %, Atyrau oblast – 71.2 %, East Kazakhstan oblast – 84.5 %, Zhambyl oblast – 81.3 %, West Kazakhstan oblast – 66.2 %,
Karaganda oblast – 77.1 %, Kostanai oblast – 84 %, Kyzylorda oblast –77.6 %, Mangystau oblast – 68.3 %, Pavlodar oblast – 79.5 %, North Kazakhstan oblast – 79.8 %, Turkestan oblast – 84.8 %, Almaty – 52.2 %,
Shymkent – 67.1 %, Nur-Sultan – 68.3 %.

American international observer Richard Weitz shared his impressions of the Kazakhstan presidential election, and said, “I had the opportunity to visit 6 polling stations. I myself did not see any violations.
Voter turnout depended on place and time. For example, this morning there were long lines, but at dinnertime, almost no one was at the polling stations. In general, I am pleased with the election. I am particularly interested in how many observers, independent organizations, local organizations, and foreign ones are here. The election is transparent. For me, it is a good sign,” Richard Weitz told a briefing
in Almaty.

Kakhaber Okriashvili, an international Observer, Member of the Georgian Parliament, shared his opinion on the ongoing election of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan as, “Three observers came from Georgia. In the morning we took up our duties. During that period, we have registered no violations. All necessary conditions have been created for voters,” Okriashvili told a briefing for mass media. “We were
surprised at the activity of people. We have seen how people stood in a long line in one of the polling stations,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a different style, Miras Abdrakhman and Zhanel Berdalinova got married at a polling station in Nur-Sultan. The newlyweds received the marriage certificate at polling station No. 147 located in Lyceum No. 35. “We are colleagues and met at work. And everything started there. A year has passed since then. Both of us are employees specializing in management,” said Miras Abdrakhman. The young people told reporters why for this landmark event they chose Kazakhstan presidential election day.

“Presidential election is an important and fateful event for the future. In this regard, we wanted to do our part. We voted together and got married,” he added.

Author is Senior Editor With Media Hub Int’l

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