Six Presidential Hopefuls Pass Language Exam, Move to Collecting Signatures

ASTANA ­– Candidate nominations for the early Kazakh presidential election was completed March 15, reported the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC).

The early election, initiated by the Council of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK), will take place April 26.

A total of 27 candidates filed documents with the commission seeking nomination, according to the CEC. The linguistic commission, which conducts a compulsory Kazakh language examination, will run until March 18.

Ten applicants have already been denied presidential candidate status: two were under the required age of 40 and eight failed the linguistic exam.

The CEC announced March 15 that five candidates passed the language exam and received signature lists. They are incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev standing from the Nur Otan Party and Turgyn Syzdykov representing the Communist People’s Party, as well as self-nominees LymanaKoyshieva, AbelgazyKussainov andKanatTurageldiyev.

The candidates have ten days to collect more than 90,000 signatures in at least nine of 14 oblasts (regions) and the two cities of Astana and Almaty. If a nominee succeeds and presents the signature lists to the CEC, he will receive official accreditation as a presidential candidate and become eligible to mount an election campaign startingMarch 26.

According to linguistic commission chair Myrzatai ​​Zholdasbekov, the commission concluded that Kussainov, head of the Kazakh Federation of Trade Unions,is fluent in the language.

“In the writing task, Kussainov fully covered the topic, but made six errors. He clearly answered all the questions,” said Zholdasbekov.

Another contender for the presidency, 55-year-old Zharylkap Kalybai, editor-in-chief of the local Kazakh-language magazines Anyz Adam and Zhuldyzdar Otbasy, also successfully passed the state language exam.

“Kalybai did not make a single mistake in the written work and got an excellent mark. He successfully passed all three linguistic exercises,” Zholdasbekov stressed. “The applicant was the second after the head of state, who amazed the commission with his knowledge of the state language.”

The CEC reported March 15 that Nazarbayev had collected half a million signatures and was officially registered as a candidate for the presidential post.

“The candidate provided all the necessary documents, which meet the requirements of the constitutional law, so the commission adopted a resolution on the registration of Nazarbayev as a candidate for the presidency,” the CEC reported.

A total of 560,523 valid voter signatures from all 16 regions of the country were collected in support of Nazarbayev’s candidacy.

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