Kazakh president calls election fair, opposition cries foul

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Astana : Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has called Sunday’s presidential polls “open and fair” whereas the opposition denounced them as a sham.

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“Exit polls said the Kazakhs approve of the work I have conducted each day during these 20 years… What other support does a person governing the country need?” Nazarbayev said in the election HQ of the Nur Otan political party he leads.

Nazarbayev won about 95 percent of the vote in Sunday’s snap presidential election, according to two exit polls.

Election observers reported no major violations on the polling day, although it was noted that Nazarbayev’s campaign was far more prominent than that of his rivals.

Three opposition parties boycotted the election, saying holding the vote with two months’ warning did not give them time to mount a serious challenge to the incumbent, who has been in power in Kazakhstan since before the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Despite the call for a boycott, the Central Election Commission reported turnout of about 90 percent.

Nazarbayev, 70, called the early poll after rejecting parliament’s vote for a referendum to extend his term until 2020, bypassing presidential elections scheduled for 2012 and 2017.