NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan, June 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has won the presidential election in Kazakhstan with 70.76% of the votes cast. This strong mandate will allow him to proceed with plans to make Kazakhstan one of the 30 most developed countries in the world, the Institute for Eurasian Integration has found.
There was a large turnout for Sunday’s poll, with 77.4% of the 11 million eligible voters coming out to vote. This has been the country’s largest presidential election since independence in 1991, with social media playing a key role among young voters.
According to the survey, the government has encouraged this openness on social media. Unlike some Asian countries where negative posts are censored, in Kazakhstan there is a free airing of views on all sides of the political spectrum. Several YouTube and Facebook groups sprung up in support of and against the candidates during the election campaign.
President Tokayev was the incumbent, taking office in March after the resignation of the first president Nursultan Nazarbayev. Tokayev called a snap election to secure his personal mandate and to maintain stability in this Central Asian country.
Fluent in Kazakh, Russian, English and Chinese, Tokayev has served as Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, and as a personal representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Conference on Disarmament, among other positions.
Kazakhstan is a strong ally of the West, occupying a strategic position between Russia and China. Under its first president Nazarbayev, the country has attracted more than $300 billion in foreign direct investment over the past 27 years. Key reforms have recently been introduced to improve the investment climate in the country, including the establishment of an International Arbitration Centre based on UK common law principles, tax exemptions, as well as simplified currency, visa and labour regimes in 12 special economic zones and 22 industrial zones.
With Tokayev’s first term secured, his priorities will be to proceed with key infrastructural projects, such as Kazakhstan’s logistics and transport network within the New Silk Road, facilitating increased trade between Europe and Asia, and to create 1 million jobs by 2025 through support for rural-based entrepreneurs.