Kazakh ruling party 'secures victory' in parliament vote: Early results
Iran Press TV
Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:5AM
Kazakhstan's ruling Nur Otan party has claimed victory in early parliamentary polls after millions of people took to polling stations across the country, preliminary results show.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) said in a statement on Monday that Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's ruling party had won 82 percent of votes for the lower house of parliament.
The statement added that two other parties, namely the Communists and Ak Zhol, had also passed the seven-percent threshold needed to win seats.
A total of six parties participated in the run for the 107-seat parliament.
The Agrarian party Auyl, pro-green Birlik, and the lone opposition National Social Democratic Party (NSDP) failed to receive the seven percent needed to win seats.
According to CEC, Astana witnessed a 77-percent turnout on Sunday, with Commission chair Kuandyk Turgankulov describing the turnout as a record for Kazakhstan's parliamentary vote.
However, observers with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the vote in Kazakhstan fell short of the country's commitments for holding democratic elections.
"It is clear that Kazakhstan still has a long way to go towards fulfilling its election commitments, although some progress was noted," Marietta Tidei, OSCE Special Coordinator for the election observation, told reporters on Monday.
Kazakhstan, a country with a population of 17 million, has some 10 million eligible voters.
During the previous polls in 2012, the ruling party won an overwhelming 80 percent of the votes, securing 83 out of the 98 seats.
The 75-year-old president has led energy-rich Kazakhstan practically unopposed since 1989, two years before its independence from the Soviet Union.
Last year, he was re-elected to another five-year term with 98 percent of the vote in a snap presidential election.
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