President Tokáyev revalidates his power in Kazakhstan by winning elections without rivals | International
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Without opposition or surprises of any kind, Kazakhstan’s presidential elections have endorsed Kasim-Yornart Tokáyev as the country’s supreme leader for this entire decade. The president’s own polls, the second to lead the nation since its independence in 1991, suggested that more than 80% of the votes would be scored in elections where he competed with five politicians unknown to the population, the only ones allowed in these elections without real opponents. Tokáyev, 69, thus reaffirms his power, which was endangered during the protests that he brutally crushed in January, and reinforces his journey among the siren songs of the Kremlin and other countries interested in that nation rich in hydrocarbons and key in the context of Central Asia.
According to exit polls allowed by Astana, Tokáyev could get up to 82.2% of the vote compared to 4.2% for the second most voted candidate. The Kazakh president this year reformed the Constitution to increase the presidential term from five to seven years, and brought forward the elections to this Sunday. By defeating them, he secures the reins of the nation until 2029. His predecessor in office between 1991 and 2019, Nursultán Nazarbáyev, was quick to congratulate the successor who relieved him of ostracism in January, when he invited him to leave the National Security Council with demonstrations as a backdrop.
“This victory testifies to his high authority as head of state and is indisputable proof of the unshakable faith of the people in his reforms and new initiatives,” said a statement published by Nazarbayev’s website, who again alluded to the protests of principles of the year: “And it is a recognition of your determination and wisdom in the critical hours in which the independence of our State was at stake.”
Rising fuel prices for gas cars were the spark that sparked a wave of protests against Tokayev in January. The president ordered his forces to fire without warning, and Russian President Vladimir Putin activated for the first time in its three decades of existence the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSO), Russia’s version of NATO with five other countries. of the post-Soviet space. A month before launching its offensive on Ukraine on February 24, the Kremlin sent troops to its ally to suppress the protests.
Tokáyev assured after the closing of the polls that his elections have been “fair and open”. The Kazakh leader asked for the unconditional support of his population with the promise of changes. “We are advancing towards a new political structure for the country. Fundamental changes will take place in the economy and we will improve the well-being of citizens”.
The country, with a higher standard of living than its neighbors thanks, in part, to the wealth of its natural resources, has become a new theater of international geopolitical struggle after Putin put all the focus on Ukraine. The wear and tear of the war on the Kremlin has encouraged Tokáyev to diversify his support and seek alternatives. The European Union, interested in its hydrocarbons, picked up the gauntlet and on November 7 both parties signed a memorandum to strengthen their economic ties.
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“The European Union is by far the largest investor in Kazakhstan, having 60% of foreign direct investment. The memorandum will further expand this relationship and align the priorities of both parties,” the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said at the time to the Kazakh president during the signing of the agreement.
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