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Kazakhstan had alternative presidential elections: head of CIS observation mission 04 мая 2015, 22:10

Sergei Lebedev, head of the CIS observation mission, believes there were political alternatives at Kazakhstan's presidential elections.
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©Turar Kazangapov ©Turar Kazangapov

Early presidential elections were held in Kazakhstan on April 26 resulting in a landslide victory of the incumbent president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who gained 8,833,250 votes or 97.75%, whereas his two rivals - candidate from the Communist Party Turgun Syzdykov and self-nominee Abelgazi Kusainov - collected 1.61% and 0.64% respectively.

After the elections, the OSCE Election Observation Mission released its preliminary findings. One of the findings was that  "the incumbent and his political party dominate politics and there is lack of credible opposition in the country, with several prominent critics of the government either imprisoned or living in exile. (...) Voters were not offered a genuine choice between political alternatives. The two opponents to the incumbent openly praised the President’s achievements."

However, the chairman of the CIS Executive Committee and the head of the CIS observation mission Sergei Lebedev believes there were political alternatives at Kazakhstan's presidential elections. 

“I would like to put a special emphasis on the alternative nature of the elections. Some critics of our countries have been saying and continue to do so that there are no alternatives at our elections, but just look at the background of the other candidates and you will see that they are well-known politicians with huge experience. They also hold prominent positions and they are respectable persons. Therefore, there were alternatives at the elections. But the situation in Kazakhstan is such that the leader enjoys indisputable authority,” Lebedev explained.  

He noted that such situation existed not only in the post soviet countries, but in other states as well. “Sometimes the incumbent head of the state by virtue of his authority enjoys an incontestable advantage and naturally leads in the elections race. We see the same situation in the West, East and there is nothing unusual here. Therefore, we do not see any ground for criticism of this situation either in Kazakhstan or in other neighboring countries,” Lebedev said.

Reporting by Aidana Usupova, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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