Re-elected Kazakh President Tokayev to take office Saturday

Astana, Nov 22 (EFE).- Re-elected Kazakh President Kasim-Yomart Tokayev will take possession of his new mandate Saturday, according to the country’s electoral commission.

“The date of the swearing-in of the President of Kazakhstan, Kasim-Yomart Tokayev, has been set for November 26,” the commission’s President Nurlan Abdírov said Tuesday at a press conference.

Final results show Tokayev won 81.31 percent of votes in an election criticized by observers from the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for its lack of pluralism and competitiveness.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said the statement on the observation mission’s preliminary finding “lacks objectivity and calls into question the effectiveness of the (organization) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights as an important institution.”

Astana said the statement contains a set of “biased conclusions, typical of the (office), which demonstrate a complete unwillingness to recognize the development of the internal situation” in Kazakhstan.

The office said the elections took place in a “private political climate of competitiveness,” and spoke about the need to “adapt the legislation to guarantee true pluralism.”

“The lack of pluralism played a major role in undermining the competitiveness of these elections, and the limitations on freedom of expression and lack of opportunities to hold peaceful assemblies reduced the space for critical voices,” said Urszula Gacek, chief of office’s mission.

Tokayev was running for re-election as a “joint candidate of all parliamentary parties and, in fact, did not receive any significant challenge in a low-intensity campaign,” the organization added.

The Kazakh president’s new mandate will last seven years without the possibility of re-election, since the constitutional amendments promoted by himself extended the presidential period by two years but prohibited re-election. EFE


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