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ADVISORY: Presidential Election in Kazakhstan

A woman walks past election posters of Kazakh presidential candidates Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev and Amangeldi Taspikhov. Almaty, 14May2019

Kazakhstan will hold a presidential election on June 9 to provide for an official transition after the surprise resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbaev on March 19. Many observers have referred to the succession as a “managed transition,” as Senate Chairman and long-time Nazarbaev loyalist Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev received the president’s endorsement and the votes of all 600 delegates attending a nominating congress to run as his successor. Toqaev has been serving as the country’s interim president since April 23.

Although none of the six candidates registered to run against Toqaev has a chance, a Toqaev incumbency will be risky. So long as Nazarbaev is still alive, he will, de facto, have final say over almost all policy matters. Accordingly, Toqaev is promising continuity of Nazarbaev's policies, though they have prompted public protests in cities throughout the country in recent weeks. Kazakh youth, in particular, may aspire to more than the status quo can promise.

Neighbors Tajikistan and Turkmenistan will be watching for lessons, as Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, in particular, contemplates his own succession.

No vote held in Kazakhstan since 1991 has been deemed free and democratic by international observers.

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service has been providing its audiences comprehensive election coverage in Kazakh and Russian.

RFE/RL journalists are available for comment.

  • Torokul Doorov, Director of Radio Azattyq, in Prague (English, Russian) -- ph: +420.221.122.406, Twitter: @Torokul

READ: Kazakhstan Shows Managed Transition Not The Smoothest Path In Central Asia


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