ASTANA – In remarks to foreign observers and reporters today made as the polls were closing at 8 p.m. Astana time, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov hailed the April 26 presidential election as “a victory for stability and progress”.
“I want to join in congratulating the people of Kazakhstan for the calm and peaceful way they have again exercised their democratic right. This election has taken place against a backdrop of global tensions that have rarely been more challenging in our nation’s 23-year history. The world economy is still in trouble, oil prices have fallen sharply, tensions between east and west have increased, and extremism is on the rise.”
“It is against this difficult background that the presidential election was brought forward. The turnout and enthusiasm of Kazakhstan’s voters is a clear vindication of that decision. The election provided a platform to debate fully the challenges the country faces and the policies needed to overcome them and sets Kazakhstan on course to meet its ambitious goals. The winner of the election will provide Kazakhstan with clear and decisive leadership and a strong national mandate to guide our country through these difficulties and deliver further economic, social and political progress,” he said.
“The election showcased the strength of our stability and unity of our society. Citizens of all backgrounds and all parts of our large country have taken their full part in the election process,” Idrissov added. As of 4 p.m. Astana time, the Central Election Commission (CEC) was reporting the national voter turnout of 82.11 percent.
“I am pleased that the election appeared to have been open, transparent and fair. I would like to thank the observers from the OSCE/ODIHR, Commonwealth of Independent States, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Council of Turkic-Speaking States and all foreign observers for the part they play in nurturing our democratic processes. As a rapidly maturing and developing country, we are ready to respond positively to constructive criticism and to continue practical engagement with the international community,” the Kazakh foreign minister said.
According to CEC, Kazakhstan has more than 9.5 million adult citizens eligible to cast their vote at one of the 9,741 polling stations established for the election, where 69,755 members of electoral commissions of all levels are engaged in organising the vote and counting ballots.
Nearly 20,000 Kazakh citizens are expected to vote at 65 polling stations which opened at the nation’s diplomatic posts around the world.