Seven candidates compete for country’s highest office in June 9 election

NUR-SULTAN – The Kazakh Central Electoral Commission (CEC) registered May 6 the last four candidates to qualify for Kazakhstan’s June 9 presidential election. Registration closed May 11 and a total of seven candidates will campaign until June 8 for election to the country’s highest office.

Clockwise: Sadybek Tugel, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Amirzhan Kosanov, Toleutai Rakhimbekov, Amangeldy Taspikhov, Daniya Yespayeva and Zhambyl Akhmetbekov.

The last four candidates to be registered by the CEC include a member of Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) Committee on Finance and Budget Daniya Yespayeva. The commission also registered May 6 Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (CCPK) Central Committee Secretary and Mazhilis Deputy Zhambyl Akhmetbekov, National Agrarian Research and Education Centre Chair Toleutai Rakhimbekov and a journalist and a member of Ult Tagdyry Movement Amirzhan Kossanov.

All presidential nominees provided the CEC with an extract from the nominating meeting minutes of the highest bodies of the national public association that they represent, the candidate’s statement of consent to run for president and a document certifying they paid the 2.13 million tenge (US$5,574) fee. Each candidate also passed a Kazakh language test.

For registration, the candidates also submitted a health certificate showing they were free of 107 physical and mental ailments, a certificate of the state revenue authority on the candidates’ delivery of the declaration on income and property and territorial election commissions protocols on the results of the collected signatures’ verification in support of the presidential candidate.

The candidates were also required to collect at least 118,140 signatures, representing 1 percent of the country’s registered voters, in support of their candidacy. To fulfil this requirement, Yespayeva, the Ak Zhol Democratic Party candidate, collected 144,098 signatures of citizens in 17 regions, 139,541 of them were considered reliable.

Akhmetbekov, the CCPK presidential candidate, collected 138,294 signatures of citizens in 16 regions, 135,506 of them were considered credible.

Rakhimbekov, the Auyl (Village) Kazakhstan’s social democratic party candidate, collected signatures from 122,309 citizens in 15 regions, 120,754 were considered reliable.

Kossanov, the Ult Tagdyry United National Patriotic Movement presidential candidate, collected signatures from 131,189 citizens in 14 regions, 129,582 of which were considered reliable.

The candidates received presidential candidate’s certificate. The CEC provided information on the presidential candidates’ registration to Halyk Savings Bank of Kazakhstan to open special temporary accounts for them.

Previously, the CEC confirmed the candidacy of Kazakh President and Nur Otan Party nominee Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kazakh Federation of Trade Unions candidate Amangeldy Taspikhov and Uly Dala Qyrandary public association’s candidate Sadybek Tugel.

Taspikhov, 59, from the West Kazakhstan Region, nominated April 24 from the Kazakh Trade Unions Federation, is a mechanical engineering graduate of Kazakh Polytechnic Institute. Since 1998, he has worked in numerous positions in the oil and gas and new technologies industry. From 1998-2002, he was a member of the Senate and from 2004-2007 was a Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) deputy and member of its Committee on Economic Reform and Regional Development. His latest position is the Director of Oral Oil and Gas.

Tokayev, 65, the current President of Kazakhstan, was nominated April 23 by the ruling Nur Otan Party. Tokayev graduated in 1975 from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and in 1992 from the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry. He is a Candidate of Historical Sciences and Doctor of Political Sciences and has extensive experience in diplomacy and state affairs, having served as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and Prime Minister and Speaker of the Senate.

Tugel, 64, from the East Kazakhstan Region, nominated April 17 by the Uly Dala Kyrandary National Public Association, is a journalist and public figure. In 1982, he graduated from Kazakh State University majoring in journalism. From 1988-1990, he studied at Almaty Higher Party School and received a degree in political science and sociology.

He worked as editor-in-chief of several newspapers and television companies and is currently editor-in-chief of the Qazanat national popular science magazine. Since 2006, he has served at times as first vice president of the Kazakh National Sports Association and president of the Kazakh National Equestrian Sports Federation.

Yespayeva, 58, from the Aktobe Region, nominated April 25 by the Ak Zhol Democratic Party, is a member of the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) Committee on Finance and Budget, Atameken Union Board in Aktobe and the region’s Coordination Council. For more than 14 years, she was a member of the regional akimat (administration) Committee on Family and Women Affairs. She was elected a deputy of the regional Maslikhat (assembly) in 2008 and 2012.

Akhmetbekov, 58, from the Akmola Region, nominated April 26 by the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan, is a graduate of Tselinograd Agricultural Institute and KIMEP University and previously served as central committee head of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan. He served in several positions in the Korgalzhyn District Akimat (administration), as Tengiz District’s Culture Department head, Druzhbinsk High School Military-Patriotic Education Deputy Director and Sunkar Lyceum Military-Physical Training Deputy Director, as well as a platoon commander. He was also a member of the Kazakhstan’s youth division of the Soviet Union Communist Party.

Kossanov, 54, from the Kyzylorda Region, nominated April 26 by the Ult Tagdyry United National Patriotic Movement, is a journalist, politician and public figure. In 1989, after graduating from the Faculty of Journalism of Kazakh State University, he worked as a correspondent for the Socialist Kazakhstan newspaper. Since 1990, Kossanov has been involved in political and public work starting with the Komsomol of Kazakhstan. Since 1991, he has worked in different positions with the Kazakh State Committee on Youth Affairs. In the early 1990s, he was a Deputy Minister of Youth, Tourism and Sport, press secretary of the Prime Minister and head of the Kazakh government’s press service, among other positions.

Rakhimbekov, 54, from the Karaganda Region, was nominated April 25 by the Auyl People’s Democratic Patriotic Party. He graduated from Kazakh Agricultural Institute in 1986 and received a law diploma from Buketov Karaganda State University in 2001. He is a member of the Kazakhstan National Academy of Sciences and has a doctorate in economics. He started his career in 1986 as a junior researcher at the Kazakh Agricultural Institute. He worked as deputy akim (mayor) of Satpayev town for several years.

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