By Ria Novosti
Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev has been reelected to office with an overwhelming 95.5 percent of the vote, officials said citing preliminary results.
The country’s Central Election Committee said none of three other candidates was given more than 2 percent in Sunday’s elections.
Opponents complained of the lack of transparency and media freedom in the run-up to the election.
Pro-Nazarbayev Senator Gani Kasymov secured 1.9 percent, communist Zhambyl Akhmetbekov – 1.4 percent, and environmentalist Mels Yeleusizov – 1.2 percent.
Nazarbayev, 70, has been running the oil-rich country since the late Soviet period. The parliament has amended the country’s constitution to allow the former Communist Party boss to run for reelection indefinitely.
His current term was to have expired in 2012, but he called an early poll after rejecting a planned referendum to extend his presidency until 2020.
The delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said the vote “reflected the will of the people,” a sentiment echoed by candidate Yeleusizov, who said the figure of 95.5 percent “reflects the country’s real political situation.”
Yeleusizov said he cast his ballot for Nazarbayev, who described the result as a “sensation.”
“More than 90 percent for a candidate, that is for me – why, this is a sensation for western countries,” Nazarbayev said at a forum of his supporters on Monday. At the previous polls in 2005, Nazarbayev won with a landslide 91.2 percent.
He said the vote determined the unity of the Kazakh people.
“We are a growing state,” he said, adding: “We are a democratic Kazakhstan.