Kazakh ex-president's party set to retain hold on power in Sunday's vote

ALMATY (Reuters) - A party led by Kazakhstan's powerful ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev is set to sweep Sunday's parliamentary election, as it has done for decades, with no major opposition groups running in the vote.

Reuters January 10, 2021 02:10:49 IST
Kazakh ex-president's party set to retain hold on power in Sunday's vote

Kazakh expresidents party set to retain hold on power in Sundays vote

ALMATY (Reuters) - A party led by Kazakhstan's powerful ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev is set to sweep Sunday's parliamentary election, as it has done for decades, with no major opposition groups running in the vote.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, handpicked by Nazarbayev as his successor in 2019, is also a senior member of the Nur Otan political party which controls 84 of 107 seats in Kazakhstan's lower house.

None of the party's four competitors in the race has openly criticised Nazarbayev or Tokayev, focusing their fire on lower-level officials and their policies instead.

The Nationwide Social Democratic Party, the main opposition party in the oil-rich Central Asian nation, is boycotting the vote. Another opposition party has failed to secure official registration ahead of the vote.

The absence of competition will dampen hopes of political reform encouraged by Kazakhstan's Western partners. But it will help to ensure stability which has helped the country of 19 million attract hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment, primarily into the oil, gas and mining sectors.

Also, in an attempt to modernise the system without relinquishing his party's tight grip on power, Tokayev has overseen the introduction of quotas for women and under-29s in political parties' candidate lists.

One notable female candidate running on the Nur Otan ticket is Dariga Nazarbayeva, the former president's eldest daughter who vanished from politics and public view last May when Tokayev removed her from the post of upper house speaker.

Nazarbayeva's return to politics has revived speculation that she might eventually run for presidency. Despite stepping down nearly two years ago, her 80-year-old father remains hugely influential. In addition to leading the ruling party, he chairs the powerful national security council.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Ros Russell)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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