Kazakh Pres. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev secured a second term in Sunday's snap presidential election, winning 81.3% of the vote, the country's Central Election Commission announced Monday.
According to the preliminary results, Tokayev's five opposing candidates scored low single-digit results, with the "against all" option achieving the second-best result of 5.8%. Turnout in the early elections announced by Tokayev in September was 69.4%, with 11M voters registered.
Tokayev became president in 2019 after the first post-independence president, Nursan Nazarbayev, resigned. In January, however, more than 220 people were killed in the former Soviet republic during protests against rising fuel prices and the still-influential former ruler.
In response to the deadly protests, Tokayev dismissed Nazarbayev from the Security Council and introduced a series of reforms, including strengthening parliament and limiting the presidency to a single seven-year term, which means he could rule until 2029.
The snap presidential elections were originally set for late 2024, but were rescheduled after January's protests followed by a constitutional referendum. On Sunday, Tokayev announced he would continue restructuring the political system, with early parliamentary elections in 2023.
Meanwhile, election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed the elections' efficient conduct, but criticized the polls for "lacking competitiveness" and stressed the need for further reforms to meet the organization's pluralism standards.
Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Asia Times. Kazakhstan still has a long way to go before it can be called a full-fledged democracy. However, Tokayev's election victory indicates that Kazakhs support his important reforms. Besides, with his government refusing to side with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and instead turning its attention to China and the US, the country is clearly on the right track.
Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Daily Mail. Given the short campaign period — which began in late October — and Tokayev's five obscure rivals, the snap elections were a farce. Moreover, thanks to his "reforms," the authoritarian Tokayev can now secure a seven-year term in office. And although he pretends to distance himself from Russia over the Ukraine war, it was only with Moscow's support that he was able to quell the nationwide protests and thus hold on to power.