Kazakhstan’s Presidential Elections 2019 were free and fair: Kazakh Envoy Barlybay Sadyko

By Agha Iqrar Haroon

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan arranged a Press Briefing at Marriott Hotel in Islamabad Tuesday on results of Presidential Elections in Kazakhstan, the Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency reported.

The presidential elections were held in Kazakhstan on Sunday (June 9, 2019) following the resignation of the long-term President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Briefing the participants, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan Barlybay Sadyko said that presidential elections were free and fair.

The Kazakh Ambassador Barlybay Sadyko said that two days ago, the people of Kazakhstan elected their new president, who is to lead and run within next five years our country and the nation.

Barlybay Sadyko said that as you know the elections held resulted from resigning in March of 2019 by the Leader of the Nation and First President of Kazakhstan Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev from the presidential office after staying in power for almost 30 years. Kazakhstan, which is largely a President-dominated country, has never experienced to be under the rule of a President apart of Nursultan Nazarbayev. This is what made the presidential elections of June 9 to be a historical and truly unique occasion indeed.

The ambassador said that once the presidential elections were announced in May the President of Kazakhstan Mr. Kassym-Jomart clearly articulated publicly on his strong commitment to guarantee them to be fair and fully transparent. This statement sent both to domestic and external audience a very important message that Kazakhstan is a sufficiently mature democratic state to ensure transition of supreme political power in line with international democratic norms. That message was well perceived given the amount of candidates, who submitted their bids to participate in the presidential electoral campaign, and substantial number of foreign observers and representatives to have been accredited for monitoring the contest.

Ambassador Barlybay Sadyko informed that there were seven candidates in Kazakhstan’s Presidential Elections 2019, who represented various stratums of the Kazakhstani society and political parties existing the country. The first was, of course, the then President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Other six candidates were Amirzhan Kossanov from national patriotic movement (political freedom, national identity, real independence, fighting corruption, people’s economy, development of regions), Zhambyl Akhmedbekov from the Communist party (denial of western influence and deceptive values, just trial of oligarchs, fighting poverty, economic integration with neighbors, introduction of fair taxation), Toleutai Rakhimbekov (), Amangeldy Taspikhov (), Sadi-Bek Tugel () and Daniya Yespayeva from Ak-Zhol Party (support to entrepreneurship, national independence, fighting corruption).

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What is here worthwhile to mention about is that for the first time in political history of Kazakhstan, a female candidate from Ak Zhol Party, Ms. Daniya Yespayeva was participating at the polls. Her bid to be elected as President is a manifestation of genuine gender equality in Kazakhstan and of the progress our country has made in extending significantly the volume of women participation in a political life of Kazakhstan. Right now Senate Chair and one of Deputy Prime-Minister, and Minister of Education and Science are female. Approximately a quarter of the Parliament members are also women.

The opposition forces were largely represented at the presidential elections by Mr. Amirzhan Kossanov, who is known to be as a most well-known and consistent political opponent of governmental politics. For nearly two decades he has been in opposition. This is to say that people of Kazakhstan were absolutely free to vote for opposition forces leader, what was another evidence of Kazakhstan’s steady evolution towards reaching best democratic electoral practices.

The Kazakh ambassador said that the presidential elections in Kazakhstan attracted a huge international attention and made the Central Electoral Commission of Kazakhstan to work hard in order to handle timely issuance of accreditation for numerous foreign observers and mass media representatives to provide them with opportunity to monitor and cover the electoral process. In total 1013 foreign observers representing international organizations and countries were accredited for that purpose. 866 out of them were from 9 international organizations, while 147 observers represented 41 countries. Among most visible international organizations, which sent their observing mission to Kazakhstan were the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and some others.

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As for accreditation of international media 227 foreign journalists got their accreditation for covering the elections.

Apprising about final results of the elections, which were articulated yesterday by the Central Electoral Commission of Kazakhstan, the envoy said that votes are distributed among the candidates as follows:

–           Kassym-Jomart Tokayev – 70,76% (6 mln. 504 054 votes);

–           Amirzhan Kossanov – 16,02% (1 mln. 472 733 votes);

–           Zhambyl Akhmedbekov – 1,83% (167 259 votes);

–           Toleutai Rakhimbekov – 3,2% (294 271 votes);

–           Amangeldy Taspikhov – 2,07% (190 304 votes);

–           Sadi-Bek Tugel – 0,92% (83 348 votes);

–           Daniya Yespayeva – 5,2% (470 153 votes).

The inauguration ceremony of Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as the president is expected to be held on June 12, 2019.

Ambassador Barlybay Sadyko underscored that no legitimate political actor in Kazakhstan challenged or denied somehow the electoral success of the incumbent President of Kazakhstan Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. This proved to be evident when Mr. Amirzhan Kossanov, who seems to have secured the second place in the presidential race, congratulated the winner and wished him the best in building prosperous and democracy-prevailed Kazakhstan.

Barlybay Sadyko also mentioned that number of eligible voters in Kazakhstan originally counted 11 947 955 citizens and 77,4% out of them voted what demonstrated the high degree of attention people paid on elections.

As for Kazakhstanis staying overseas, election process for them was organized in electoral posts, established under 51 diplomatic missions of Kazakhstan abroad, where almost 15 000 our citizens were able to come and vote.

The Embassy of Kazakhstan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was also traditionally mobilized for providing an opportunity for our citizens abroad to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Under the roof of the Embassy the electoral district was set up, where Kazakhstan’s citizen currently residing in Pakistan on a permanent or temporarily basis could come and vote from early morning till 8 pm. The whole election process at the Embassy was under the surveillance of the ad hoc Electoral Commission, which was set up in line with our national electoral legislation and consisted of the Embassy’s diplomatic staff members. The election process was very safe and procedurally was in full accordance with norms of electoral law.

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Apart of the Embassy’s personnel and their family members, who voted here in Islamabad, our colleagues from the Embassy of Kazakhstan to Afghanistan arrived here from Kabul to vote and covered costs of the journey from their own expense. Among voters were also citizens of Kazakhstan, who permanently reside in Pakistan or study here. Totally 44 people attended our electoral precinct and majority of them voted for Mr.Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

In the conclusion, Barlybay Sadyko reiterated that the presidential elections have become a historically massive event in the modern history of Kazakhstan. They have turned to be a great step forward to enhancing traditions of political pluralism, which is crucial for Kazakhstan’s remaining and developing within a community of democratic and democracy-oriented countries. That was confirmed by the President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who stated the following immediately after the first exist-polls data became available: “I am delighted that the electoral campaign developed in a civilized and calm manner. That was in essence a competition of electoral platforms, what indicated a considerable growth of political culture in Kazakhstan. But there is still a lot us to do”. These words are not for sure only about domestic development of Kazakhstan, but also about strengthening and enhancing great foreign policy legacy of Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, First President of Kazakhstan. In this regard I would like you to keep in mind that Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as a professional and career diplomat had been running for many years the Foreign Office of Kazakhstan and was the UN Deputy Secretary General what provided him a great expertise in foreign policy and international matters, whether it is about extension of regional cooperation or increasing level of security worldwide.

The Kazakh ambassador also said that relations with Pakistan will remain among most important one and Kazakhstan will continue promote cooperation in all spheres. There is a need to work to enhance and elevate to qualitatively new level bilateral trade and economic relations and make concrete plans for the future cooperation.