ASTANA –The Kazakhstan Central Electoral Commission (CEC) officially registered the self-nominated Abelgazy Kussainov as a candidate for the April 26 early presidential election on March 18.
Kussainov collected 132,152 valid voter signatures in support of his candidacy. The law requires that at least 93,012 be received. Thus, he became the third official candidate after incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Turgun Syzdykov of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan.
Nazarbayev collected 560,523 valid voter signatures and Syzdykov received 98,384.
Kussainov is a 63-year-old native of the Karaganda region whose career has included various government positions. Kussainov was a member of the Kazakh Senate, vice-minister of transport and communications and vice-minister of industry and trade. In 2009, he headed the Ministry of Transport and Communications and three years later, he became the akim (governor) of the Karaganda region. Since January 2013, Kussainov has chaired the country’s Federation of Trade Unions.
On March 15, the CEC announced that Kussainov successfully passed the state language exam.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the Council of National Coordinators (CNC) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states was held in Beijing. During the gathering, formation of an SCO Observer Mission to the election in Kazakhstan electionwas discussed.
It was decided that Secretary-General of the SCO Dmitry Mezentsev will lead the SCO mission.
The SCO includes Kazakhstan, Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Observer status was granted to Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, five polling stations will be opened in Russia, Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Russia Erlan Baizhanov announced on March 17, newskaz.ru reported.
“Polling stations will be opened at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Moscow, as well as in Kazakhstan consulates in St. Petersburg, Kazan, Omsk and Astrakhan. The polls will be open from 7 a.m.to8 p.m.[April 26],” Baizhanov said.
According to the diplomat, during the parliamentary election in Kazakhstan [in 2012] more than two thousand Kazakhstan citizens visited polling stations in Moscow. In Baizhanov’s opinion, in this presidential election, the number of voters will be much greater. Citizens only need a valid ID in order to vote.