Kazakhstan's ruling party cements its grip on parliament

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MOSCOW — Kazakhstan's ruling party has cemented its grip on parliament in the opposition-free election, officials said Monday.

The Central Election Commission said that the ruling Nur Otan party won 71% of the vote in Sunday's parliamentary election and two other parties loyal to the government also won seats.

The Nur Otan party is headed by former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who stepped down in 2019 after nearly three decades in power but retains broad clout. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who succeeded him as the country's president, hailed Sunday's vote as “another step in the country's democratic development.”

The country’s only registered opposition party declined to field candidates.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a statement that “an uncompetitive campaign and systemic de-facto limitations on constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms left voters without genuine choice."

The OSCE's observers noted in their statement that the nation's political landscape is heavily dominated by the ruling party, and the distinction between party and government is often blurred.

“As all political parties contesting the elections supported the policies of the ruling party, the campaign was not competitive, and voters had no genuine political alternatives to choose from,” the OSCE said.

Several dozen protesters were briefly detained in Kazakhstan's largest city of Almaty and in the capital, Nur-Sultan.

The Associated Press