Parliamentary polling underway in Kazakhstan, 30.65% turnout in first 5 hours

Astana, Mar 19 (EFE).- Polling stations opened Sunday in Kazakhstan for extraordinary elections to the Lower House (Mazhilis) as part of the institutional renewal promoted by the country’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Within the first five hours of voting, turnout reached 30.65% of the census, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC) of this Central Asian country.

More than 12.3 million voters are summoned to the polls to elect the 98 deputies of the Mazhilis, on a day when local elections are also being held. The voting will conclude at 8:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. GMT).

For the first time, deputies will be elected according to a mixed system: 69 will be elected by party lists and 29 by majority constituencies. In previous legislatures, all members of the Chamber were elected by party lists.

The seven registered parties in Kazakhstan presented lists of candidates to access the proportional distribution of the 69 seats, which requires exceeding 5 percent of the vote. A total of 435 candidates, 359 independent and 76 representing political formations, are competing in the 29 majority constituencies.

The CEC has accredited more than 800 observers from 41 countries and 12 international organizations to monitor the elections. According to the Kazakh electoral authorities, the vote is taking place completely normally.

All the polls indicate the ruling Amanat party, previously known as Nur Otan until 2022, as the clear winner. EFE



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