Kazakhs to hold snap election, Tokayev favorite

CIHANGIR YILDIRIM
ISTANBUL
Published 08.06.2019 00:17

The Kazakh people will go to the ballot box for snap presidential election on Sunday, following Nursultan Nazarbaev's resignation after nearly 30 years in power. Presidential candidates Zhambyl Akhmetbekov, Amirzhan Kossanov, Toleutai Rakhimbekov, Amangeldy Taspikhov, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Sadybek Tugel and Daniya Yespayeva will compete for the presidency in the snap election scheduled for June 9.

Kazakhstan's acting president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, is considered the most likely to win the presidential election in the ex-Soviet country. Holding some of the highest government positions, including foreign minister, prime minister and Senate speaker, Tokayev is one of the prominent actors that will continue Nazarbayev's political legacy during Kazakhstan's transition period. He was nominated by the Kazakh ruling party, Nur Otan, for the snap election. Nazarbayev earlier stated that Tokayev is the "worthiest candidate for the highest position in the country" and described Tokayev as a "close ally and outstanding politician" and underlined his vast experience. Nazarbayev, who has ruled the country since its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, is the first Central Asian leader of the post-Soviet era to willingly leave the presidency.

After the 2018 amendments to the Kazakh Election Law, presidential candidates can only be nominated by nationwide organizations such as political parties. Also presidential candidates must fulfill the conditions for candidacy such as to being Kazakh citizens by birth, at least 40 years old, fluent in the Kazakh language and officially residents in Kazakhstan for the last 15 years.

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