Nur-Sultan, Jan 10 (efe-epa).- Polling stations in Kazakhstan closed Sunday at 8:00 p.m. local time (14:00 GMT) after thirteen hours of voting in parliamentary elections in which the ruling Nur Otan party is expected to maintain its absolute majority.
According to data from the country’s Central Electoral Commission, 63.1% of the voters participated in the elections.
Authorities of the Central Asian country highlighted the active participation of citizens on election day despite the cold and restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some 11.9 million citizens were called to the polls to elect 98 deputies of the Mazhilis lower house.
The legislative elections are the first since the resignation in March 2019 of the country’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who held power in the former Soviet republic for almost 30 years.
To obtain seats in the Mazhilis, political parties will have to exceed the threshold of 7% of the votes.
There are six registered parties in Kazakhstan, of which only three – the ruling Nur Otan, the People’s Party of Kazakhstan and the Ak Zhol Democratic Party – have seats in the lower house.
In addition, the Social Democratic Auyl Party and the Adal party also participated in the elections.
The Nationwide Social Democratic Party, decided to boycott the elections because it considers the result “to be known in advance.”
Kazakh opposition forces have labeled all the parties participating in the elections as pro-government, which they consider to be a “no-choice election.”
Dozens of people were detained throughout the day in the Kazakh capital and its second city, Almaty, during protests organized by exiled banker Mukhtar Abliazov, who is wanted in Kazakhstan for fraud. EFE/EPA