Ruling party likely to sweep Kazakh parliamentary election

A man votes during parliamentary elections in Almaty on March 19, 2023.  (PHOTO / AFP)

ALMATY – Kazakhstan votes in a snap parliamentary election on Sunday widely expected to cement President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's HOLD on power after he fully assumed leadership last year.

While Tokayev has reshuffled the government, the lower house of parliament – elected when his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev still had sweeping powers and led the ruling Nur Otan party – was not due for election until 2026, and the president called a snap vote.

Unlike Nazarbayev, Tokayev has chosen not to lead the ruling party – now rebranded Amanat – but polls show it is likely to retain a comfortable majority and form the core of his support base in the legislature, especially in the absence of strong opposition parties on the ballot.

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However, for the first time in almost two decades, several opposition figures are running as independents, a move which may allow some government critics to win a limited number of seats.

Tokayev has said that the vote would allow him to start implementing his plan to reform the country and ensure fairer distribution of its oil wealth.