ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Politics

Tokayev elected Kazakh president, police disperse fresh protests

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kazakhstan's President and presidential candidate, votes during presidential election in Nur-Sultan on June 9.   © Reuters

NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) -- Kazakhstan's interim president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, chosen successor of veteran ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev who retains sweeping powers, has won a snap presidential election with nearly 71% of the vote, according to early results on Monday.

Nazarbayev, who ruled oil producer Kazakhstan for almost three decades, handpicked the 66-year-old career diplomat as his successor when he stepped down in March. In a power-sharing arrangement, Nazarbayev, 78, remains chairman of the influential Securiy Council and leads the ruling Nur Otan party.

With Tokayev's six rivals largely unknown to Kazakh voters, opponents denounced the election as unfair, prompting public protests despite Kazakhstan's restrictive laws on freedom of expression.

During Sunday's vote, police arrested 500 people at rallies in Almaty and Nur-Sultan, the capital city that was renamed after Nazarbayev at Tokayev's suggestion.

On Monday the number of protesters was much smaller as hundreds of police gathered at the Almaty park where Sunday's rally took place. A Reuters correspondent saw police detain a few dozen people.

The Kazakh state closely controls domestic politics and public discourse. The vast majority of local media does not criticise Nazarbayev, and social media and online messaging platforms were restricted during Sunday's election.

Monitors from Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has routinely described Kazakh elections as neither free nor fair, are due to hold a briefing on their findings later on Monday.

Tokayev, meanwhile, received congratulations from fellow Central Asian leaders such as Uzbek and Kyrgyz presidents. "We must unite to work for the future of Kazakhstan," Tokayev's campaign website quoted him as saying.

Nazarbayev's eldest daughter Dariga became the speaker of the Senate in March, the post previously held by Tokayev, and members of the ex-president's family control some key business assets such as Kazakhstan's largest bank, Halyk.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more