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Kazakhstan gears up for presidential polls

ANI  |  Astana 

Kazakhstan is gearing up for presidential elections again, and in anticipation of this April 26 event, incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev, has accepted the nomination to contest from the nation's ruling Nur Otan Party.

Cutting across party lines, politicians and academicians have unanimously described him as a worthy candidate for the post, and in the last week, when the proposal was put to a vote, it was supported by all 1200 delegates, which was indicative of the huge popularity he enjoys.

Accepting the proposal to contest for the post of president again, Nazarbayev said that he had only one goal in his mind, and that was to tackle all new complex tasks for the benefit of the citizens of Kazakhstan.

"Building on our successes, we must move forward," he emphasized.

For the April 26 presidential election, 14 citizens have filed their nominations so far before the Central Election Commission.

Nazarbayev, who has been his country's president since 1991, has enjoyed overwhelming popularity while in power.

In February 2011, an opinion research poll commissioned by the Washington-based International Republican Institute and conducted by independent pollster Gallup put his support at more than 90 percent.

The Constitution of Kazakhstan limits a president to two five-year terms, with an exception made for the country's first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Commenting on the forthcoming presidential polls, Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov was quoted by local dailies, as saying that his country is committed to conducting a free and fair election.

Maintaining that Kazakhstan and the entire Central Asian region was passing through a period of trial, and faced a number of challenges, Idrissov told diplomats during a briefing that there was need to give President Nazarbayev a fresh mandate to pursue anti-crises policies.

Idrissov said that he was confident that the highest democratic standards would be applied by the Central Election Commission to the entire electoral process.

The foreign minister said that an early presidential election would strengthen Kazakhstan's relations with foreign countries and reaffirm Kazakhstan's commitment to the principles of openness, transparency, fairness and competitiveness in the electoral process.

The initiative to hold the presidential election a year before its due date was put forward by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK), a constitutional body representing the country's numerous ethnic groups.

The initiative found support from both chambers of parliament, and on Feb. 25 a presidential decree on holding an election on April 26 was approved.

The nomination of candidates for president began on February 26 and ended on March 15. The registration of candidates will close on March 25.

The pre-election campaign of candidates for president will begin on March 26 and end at midnight on April 24.

Voting will take place on April 26 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., local time.

The Central Election Commission will announce the results by May 3.

First Published: Mon, March 16 2015. 12:30 IST