ASTANA — Kazakh citizens across the country who went to the polls in today’s parliamentary election to exercise their constitutional duty and civic right underlined broader public interest and increased participation, expressing hope about the election.
Assel Akhmetzhanova, 28, from the capital Astana, cast her vote early in the morning. She said she was surprised to see people waiting in line at polling stations.
“Since I turned 18, which is when I could start voting, I have not missed any election. This time is not an exception. Whatever the outcome, it is important for me to exercise my right to vote,” she said.
The most important and positive aspect, according to her, was to see self-nominated candidates who, if elected, could “bring new voices to the Parliament and ensure diverse backgrounds and groups are represented in the Mazhilis.”
“Because there was an opportunity for citizens to be self-nominated, I can tell that this election received broader public attention. I noticed people became more interested in learning about this election, who the candidates are, and what they stand for. For me, clean air, quality medical services, and inclusive and developed infrastructure is a priority,” she added.
Zhaniya Ashimova from Astana said it was especially interesting to see vigorous campaigning among candidates to maslikhats, local representative bodies.
“It is vital for me to vote because it is my constitutional right. It was especially interesting to see how the candidates for the maslikhat in my district promoted their political program. They met with people, answered questions and shared their plans about how they would work if elected to the maslikhat,” Ashimova told The Astana Times.
Malika, a 33-year resident of the capital, who preferred not to disclose her full name, said it was the first time she felt that political life received a new impulse.
“It is the first time when I really wanted to support a particular candidate. I am very hopeful about this election. I am grateful for the fact that we had such a variety of candidates representing political parties and single-mandate constituencies,” she said.
Improvement of the healthcare sector is what Viktoriya Nessiyeva, a 26-year-old laboratory worker in Astana, hopes to see after the election.
“I really expect the newly-elected members of Parliament, whoever they are, to focus on people’s problems and aim to resolve them. In particular, I hope that the health sector will be improved. I made my choice,” said Nessiyeva.
“The person I was going to vote for was removed as a candidate a few days ago,” said Adilet Rakhimov, 58. “However, there are still some self-nominated candidates who, in my opinion, truly deserve to win because they have already done a lot for citizens.”
Polling stations will remain open until 8 p.m. today, with 12,032,550 people eligible to vote in the election. As of 10 a.m., voter turnout reached 14.51 percent, according to the Central Election Commission.