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Kazakhstan votes to elect president
20 November 2022
Voting is taking place on Sunday (20 November) in Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest republic. The elections are considered important since they mark the end of the era of rule of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan's long-time president who served from 1991 to 2019. Nazarbayev is often credited with being “the father of the nation” helping to forge a Kazakh national identity, but whose rule has increasingly been identified as one riddled with nepotism, corruption and stagnation.
Even after Nazarbayev decided to resign, he maintained control over several key leverages of power, and his successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, governed in the shadow of his predecessor. In January, Tokayev was faced by what appears to have been an attempted palace coup to unseat him, Having quashed the uprising Tokayev decided to accelerate the process of reforms that he had already started to cautiously implement. Nazarbayev has been side-lined and constitutional reforms initiated under which, a president can only serve for one, seven-year term.
Long-time observers of Central Asia feel that the election marks an important turning point for Kazakhstan and Central Asia. commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that "there is little doubt that the incumbent president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will win the election. Yet people in Kazakhstan have started to understand that things are changing; that their president does not intend to serve for life, and diversity of opinions are good. A very modest start, and one that is considered far less than enough for some. But a start it is, and that needs to be recognised too."