Over 10,000 Candidates Participate in Nur Otan Party Primaries, as Party Concludes First Stage 

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party summed up the results of the first stage in the party’s primaries held between Oct.1 and Oct. 4, the Nur Otan press service reported. 

Nearly 10,000 people participated in the primaries, 37 percent of them women and 29 percent young people under 35 years of age. Seventy percent of the candidates were self-nominated. 

The registered candidates campaigned between Sept. 7 and Oct. 3, while the voting took place between Oct. 1- and Oct. 4. It was initially scheduled to end Oct. 3, but due to technical problems with the voting website caused by its overload, the voting was extended by one day. 662,687 people participated in the vote bringing a total of 84 percent in voter turnout. 

“The second stage of the internal party selections will be district and city conferences that will adopt party lists to the maslikhat elections. During these conferences, electors will also select candidates in the party lists for the regional maslikhats and Majilis. All candidates will have to participate in the debates. The candidates to the Majilis, exсеpt for cities of national significance (Almaty, Nur-Sultan and Shymkent), will debate twice at both a district and a regional conference,” wrote Nur Otan Deputy Chair Bauyrzhan Baibek on his Facebook page.  

While party lists for the regional maslikhats will be approved at the conferences, the party lists for the Majilis will be adopted at the party’s meeting. 

In compiling party lists, the party will take into account a 30 percent mandatory quota for women and young people under 35 years old, a recent requirement instituted for the country’s political parties in an effort to increase women and young people’s voices in the decision-making process.

“All paper ballots were delivered to the central organizing committee and were verified. We have received the ballots this morning and the protocols of voting results from the Zhambyl, Turkestan, and Kyzylorda regions. All information, including the ratings, has been uploaded in the primaries information system and is available for the public at nurotan.kz and primaries.kz websites,” said party secretary Arman Kyrykbayev. 

It is not the first time that Nur Otan has organized primaries. The first was held in 2016, but this year it was a more extensive format that focused on including more young people and women, in an effort to formulate party lists before the upcoming elections to the maslikhats, local representative bodies, and the Majilis, a lower house of the Kazakh Parliament. The elections are scheduled for winter, but the final dates have not yet been announced. 

“The task set by party chair Nursultan Nazarbayev at the very beginning was to select new leaders from Nur-Otan who enjoyed great popular support and to compile national party lists on a competitive basis. The party has made enormous efforts to fulfill these tasks. For all who participated in the intraparty elections, the primaries served as social elevator and as a test for perseverance, opportunity to demonstrate political skills, and assert their positions,” he said. 

The campaign also included a discussion of 216 projects in the party’s election program and suggestions made by citizens. The candidates held over 60,000 meetings and the debates reached an audience of 1.4 million people. 

“Party primaries had everything that electoral campaigns are characterized by – competition, heated debates, attempts to commit electoral fraud, withdrawal of candidates, high emotions, and the joy of winning,” the party secretary said.

He said that the party control committee received more than 30 complaints during the electoral campaign. Thirty-seven candidates were removed, including seven involved in falsification and vote-rigging and 27 for their absence at the debates, a mandatory requirement. 

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