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Unsurprisingly, the incumbent president of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, won the early presidential election on Sunday with 81.31% of the vote, according to preliminary results.
The outgoing President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has clearly won the presidential election, in the absence of opposition, confirming his status as the new strongman of the largest country in Central Asia, at the end of a black year. for this state rich in natural resources.
According to the preliminary results given Monday, November 21 by the Electoral Commission, this 69-year-old man who came to power in 2019 obtained 81.31% of the vote and the participation amounted to 69.44%. As expected, his five opponents made up the numbers, none of them exceeding 3.42%. Worse, the “against all” voting option, new to this ballot, won over 5.8% of voters, coming in second.
Located at the crossroads of important trade routes, Kazakhstan descended into chaos in January when protests against high prices escalated into riots, only to be brutally put down. Balance sheet: 238 dead. The country remains traumatized by this crisis and, a sign that tensions persist, the authorities announced on Thursday that they had arrested seven supporters of an opponent in exile, accused of fomenting a “coup”.
A “New Kazakhstan”
On the night of Sunday to Monday, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who had obtained nearly 71% of the vote in 2019, called for “unity” to carry out the program of his constitutional reform in June. “This election opens a new era and all the main institutions of power will be reformed,” he promised.
He reiterated his commitment to economic reforms and the “end of the monopoly in power”, as Kazakhstan experienced during the three decades of the reign of Nursultan Nazarbayev, who resigned in 2019.
The president-candidate had campaigned on his project to create a fairer “New Kazakhstan”. But economic difficulties persist, as do authoritarian reflexes.
The president, who honed his first weapons as a Soviet diplomat, became at independence a key man in the Nazarbayev regime. But after being considered the henchman of his predecessor, the Kazakh president has officially undertaken to cut the cord in favor of the January crisis. He has transformed himself this year into a relentless leader, firing on rioters in January, arresting relatives of the Nazarbayev clan, then standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin. A clan struggle which did not prevent Noursultan Nazarbayev from being the first to congratulate his ex-protégé on his re-election, “indisputable proof of the unshakable faith of the people in (his) reforms”.
If the identity of the winner was sewn with white thread, a slight suspense hovered as to the percentage of votes that Kassym-Jomart Tokayev would reap, a pure product of the Soviet era who wants to be the man of renewal.