International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Nursultan Narzarbayev of Kazakhstan Elected for Fifth Term

The president of Kazakhstan was elected for his fifth term on Monday by 97.7% of the vote. Nursultan Narzabayev, 74, won his fifth consecutive term since 1989, pre-dissolution of the Soviet Union. It was reported that 95% of the population voted in the election, and the other two opposition candidates gained a collective 2.3% of the total vote. Not one article that I’ve read has mentioned either of their names. This is a clear demonstration of an un-democratic and un-balanced election process in Kazakhstan.

To this, Nazarbayev said in mockery: “ I apologize that for super-democratic countries these figures are unacceptable, but I can’t do anything about it. If I interfered, it would be undemocratic of me.” Additionally, Putin congratulated Nazarbayev on his victory and even went on to say that his victory “showed ‘broad support’ for his policies” and from the general population.

Ultimately, Kazakhstan’s election is representative of the large Central Asian country’s lack of genuine democratic process and freedom of speech, one which is recognized by most of the international community. The opposition candidates were nearly invisible in society while Nazarbayev’s campaign was public and uncontested. I’m interested to know how 95% of the country voted, and wouldn’t shy away from the assumption that voting was encouraged in ways that might not be accepted by the United States.

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