ASTANA – Parliamentary election for the Mazhilis, the lower house of parliament, and maslikhats, local representative bodies, kicked off across Kazakhstan on March 19.
More than 12 million people are eligible to vote today. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), 10,233 polling stations are operating in 17 regions and three cities of national significance – Astana, Almaty, and Shymkent.
Polling stations in Kazakhstan and abroad opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m. local time.
Kazakh citizens abroad can cast their vote at 77 polling stations in 62 countries.
Seven political parties are competing for seats – Amanat, Aq Jol Democratic Party, Auyl People’s Democratic Patriotic Party, Baytaq, National Social Democratic Party, People’s Party of Kazakhstan, and Respublica. Baytaq and Respublica are two new parties that were able to participate due to simplified party registration rules.
There are 281 candidates from party lists and hundreds of candidates in single-mandate constituencies, a novelty in this election and a sign of unprecedented political activity among citizens.
The average age of the candidates is approximately 49 years. Women comprise 19.54 percent (85 candidates) of the registered candidates.
The CEC has accredited 793 observers from 41 foreign states and 12 international organizations.
There are more than 230 foreign journalists accredited to cover the election.