Kazakhstan’s President ‘Elected’ With Outrageous 97.7 Percent Vote

Kazakhstan’s President ‘Elected’ With Outrageous 97.7 Percent Vote

Elections in Kazakhstan aren’t exactly known to be close calls.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has led the oil-rich Central Asian country since 1989, just made winning a fifth term look suspiciously easy.

On Sunday, he won re-election, yet again, with a statistically impossible 97.7 percent of the vote.

But the election gets better: A stunning 95 percent of the electorate showed up to the polls, officials proudly stated.

There are just a few problems.

“The incumbent and his political party dominate politics, and there is lack of a credible opposition in the country,” Cornelia Jonker, head of the fair election monitoring mission for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said in a statement Monday.

The OSCE, which is tasked with monitoring elections in the former Soviet Union, also said the vote was marked by voting irregularities and a complete lack of open debate. Carefully choreographed elections are less about competition and more about legitimizing the cult status of Nazarbayev.

And example: His only two opponents in the race, who collectively took only 2 percent of the popular vote, openly supported him.

Any legitimate critics have been jailed or forced into exile.

Mr. Nazarbayev, who is 74, made a snarky apology for his uber-landslide, although he appears to have no real regrets.

“I apologize that for super-democratic states such figures are unacceptable,” he told a post-election news conference Monday. “But I could do nothing. If I had interfered, I would have looked undemocratic, right?”

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