Nazarbayev Tipped for Fresh Term

Nazarbayev Tipped for Fresh Term
Nazarbayev Tipped for Fresh Term

Millions of Kazakhs cast their votes on Sunday in the energy-rich Central Asian country in a ballot that is almost certain to re-elect the 74-year-old strongman incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The marginalized opposition has not put forward any candidates for the election and Nazarbayev is standing against two candidates widely seen as pro-government figures.

By midday local time, 41 percent of the 9.5 million electorate had voted at over 9,000 polling stations across the country, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC).

"I am sure Kazakhs will vote primarily for stability," Nazarbayev said after casting his ballot in the capital Astana. He has ruled the Central Asian country since before the breakup of the USSR in 1991. If he wins a new five-year term, he will be on course to reach three decades as leader.

One of the candidates standing against Nazarbayev, Turgun Syzdykov, a 68-year-old former provincial official, has campaigned on an anti-globalization platform, railing against Hollywood, fast food and computer games. He represents the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan.

The other, Abelgazy Kusainov, 63, who has held several important governmental positions and currently heads the national federation of trade unions, is standing as an independent after running a campaign touching on Kazakhstan's environmental problems.