Kazakh exit polls put ruling party on course for election victory
With the votes still being counted, three major exit polls in Kazakhstan put the Amanat party on course for a comfortable victory in the election to a parliament that has gained powers under the country’s new constitution. The projected results also point to a lively, if divided, opposition in the new Mazhilis, writes Political Editor Nick Powell.
After constitutional reforms that made both forming a political party and election campaigning significantly easier, it seems that most Kazakh voters have stuck with the Amanat party, formerly led by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. He left the party last year, as part of reforms that moved Kazakhstan away from a super-presidential form of government to a presidential-parliamentary system.
Three different exit polls all put Amanat within a percentage point of 54%. Known as Nur Otan (Radiant Fatherland) until last year, Amanat (Commitment) signifies President Tokayev’s call for reform of the whole party. It seems it has successfully adapted to the new political climate. It is a broad political alliance and its victory suggests that wider political and economic will now be enacted.
The social democratic Auyl People’s Democratic Party, which has contested previous Mazhilis elections without winning a single seat, is on course for second place. All three exit polls give it 10% or 11%. The Aq jol Democratic Party and the People’s party are also on course to clear the 5% threshold required to enter the Mazhilis, with the National Social Democratic Party also likely to just make it over the line.
Political debate in the new parliament is likely to be more about the pace of reform, rather than its direction. The green Baytaq party might not have won enough votes. It is also broadly supportive of the President’s reforms but hoped to win more support in a country that has seen two major ecological disasters, one caused by Soviet-era nuclear tests and the other by the former USSR’s diversion of water from the Aral Sea.
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