Video: Police detain hundreds at Kazakh election protests
09 Jun 2019
Kazakhstan police detained hundreds of opposition protesters on Sunday during elections for the first new president in 30 years.
Gulf Today spoke to Aliya Izbassarova, a civil activist based in Astana, who said, “We hope the international community can now clearly see the way Kazakhstan's authorities treat their people and forge the election results. We are flooded with evidence of illegitimacy of these elections, but nothing shows the truth better than the streets do."
In the biggest protests for three years in the Central Asian country, the main cities Nur-Sultan and Almaty saw police detain hundreds and bundle them into police vans.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the interim president of Kazakhstan hand-picked by veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev as his successor, will confirm his position on Sunday in an election triggered by Nazarbayev's resignation, AFP reported.
Nazarbayev, who had run the oil-rich former Soviet republic for almost three decades before stepping down in March, and retains sweeping powers, chose the 66-year-old diplomat as his successor, making the outcome of the vote all but certain.
Hundreds of people protested on Sunday, criticising the election as undemocratic. But the smooth transition is positive news for its neighbours Russia and China as well as for foreign energy and mining companies who have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in the Central Asian state.
For many of its 12 million registered voters, Tokayev, a former prime minister and foreign minister, was the only familiar face among seven candidates in a brief and uneventful campaign.
Natalya, a pensioner, said after casting her ballot on Sunday that she had voted for the incumbent.
"Well, Nazarbayev is no longer on the ballot and I do not know any of the other candidates," she said.