Nazarbayev Wins 5th Term by a Landslide

Nazarbayev Wins 5th Term by a LandslideNazarbayev Wins 5th Term by a Landslide

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev won a new term at the helm of Central Asia’s largest economy by a landslide in Sunday’s election, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said.

Nazarbayev, a 74-year-old former steelworker who has ruled the oil-rich nation since 1989, won 97.7 percent of the vote, CEC head Kuandyk Turgankulov told a news briefing on Monday. Turnout was 95.22 percent, he said, Reuters reported.

Nazarbayev was virtually unchallenged, since no strong opposition rivals were running. Turgun Syzdykov, a 68-year-old former provincial official who campaigned on an anti-globalisation platform, represented the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan.

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

Nazarbayev has promoted market reforms and attracted $200 billion in foreign direct investment, turning his steppe nation into the second-largest economy in the former Soviet Union and the biggest former Soviet oil producer after Russia.

Kazakhstan also has built good ties with neighboring Russia and China as well as the United States and the European Union.

Stable in a region that has been troubled by ethnic violence from Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan has been criticized by the West and human rights bodies for crackdowns on dissent. No election held here has yet been given a clean bill of health by monitors.

Nazarbayev, a former Communist Party boss, won nearly 96 percent of the vote in the previous election in April 2011.