Kazakhstan, seats open for the presidential elections: 12 million to vote

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is the big favorite on the eve. Five ‘challengers’, including two women

From the Adnkronos correspondent Piero Spinucci

The operations of vote in Kazakhstan where the seventh presidential elections are being held today since 1991, the year of independence of the former Soviet republic. According to data provided by the electoral commission, there are 10,101 polling stations set up throughout the country and 68 abroad, while registered voters are 11,950,485. You can vote from 7 to 21 (from 2 to 16 Italian time). On the card, in addition to the name of the President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, big favorite of the eve, there are five other candidates including two women, more or less known but all with very few chances. Voters will also be able to choose the “against all” option: by ticking it, they declare their dissatisfaction with all the proposed candidates. But be careful, this figure will not be calculated except for the purposes of turnout.

641 observers from 10 international organizations and 35 states, including at least two Italians, will monitor the voting operations, the electoral commission assures. To be elected president, the candidate must collect 50% plus one of the votes. Otherwise, a runoff will be scheduled within two months of the first round, but the possibility seems quite remote: it has never been held since 1991. Today’s elections are early elections, given that the natural deadline would have been in 2024. After the constitutional referendum last June, the presidential term was extended to seven years but is no longer renewable.

To get the green light to apply, you must be a Kazakh citizen by birth, be at least 40 years old, speak the Kazakh language fluently, have lived in the country for 15 years, have a higher education, have no criminal record and be supported by at least 1 % of the electorate, representing at least two thirds of the oblasts, the most important cities and the capital (about 118,000 signatures). Any appeals can only be presented by the president, the heads of branches of Parliament, the prime minister or one fifth of the deputies.

Among the rejected candidates were Balli Marzec, who has dual Polish and Kazakh citizenship, and Inga Imanbai, wife of the leader of the (unregistered) Democratic Party of Kazakhstan, Zhanbolat Mamai. The reason is the non-compliance with the law “on elections”. Marzec, who calls himself Kazakhstan’s opposition leader abroad, has not resided in the country for 15 years, while Inga Imanbai is not 40. Another candidate, Amirzhan Kosanov, who finished second in the 2019 elections, suddenly declared that he would not run for president, explaining his decision by the fact that the democratic coalition, of which he is a member, wanted to nominate another candidate and was unwilling to compete with him.