The parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan started on Sunday, with which President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev could consolidate his influence. In the largest city of Almaty, however, the election on Sunday morning was sluggish with a heavy police presence on the streets. According to polls, the governing party Amanat, which supports Tokayev, is likely to retain a comfortable majority.
Tokayev himself had left the Amanat party on the grounds that he would stay out of party politics. There are no strong opposition parties in the oil-rich country in Central Asia. For the first time in almost two decades, however, several members of the opposition are running as independents, meaning that some government critics could win mandates.
As a result of the Ukraine war and the oil embargo against Russia, Kazakhstan has gained in importance for Germany.
Kazakh oil is to supply the east German refinery Schwedt, which obtained the oil almost exclusively from Russia before the war. Due to the oil embargo since the beginning of the year, the refinery can only run at half speed.
With the early parliamentary elections, Tokayev wants to complete the move away from the old system of power around former head of state Nursultan Nazarbayev. In November, he secured a second term in the former Soviet republic in the presidential election, which was also snapped up.
Kazakhstan is actually closely allied with Russia. At the beginning of 2022, Tokayev allowed domestic unrest to be true with help
crush Russia. After that, however, he hardly sought contact with the government in Moscow and avoided publicly supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine. (Reuters)
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