BRUSSELS – The Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the European Union, Aigul Kuspan, briefed Brussels-based European journalists about the upcoming extraordinary presidential elections in the country on 15 May.
Kuspan highlighted the fact that the decision to call early elections -a decision made in consultation with First President Nursultan Nazarbayev and in coordination with the Constitutional Council- was based on the need to provide stability and continuity and eliminate any uncertainty following the resignation of the First President in March 2019.
She quoted Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who has declared that “in order to ensure social and political stability, provide confidence, and address socio-economic development issues, it is necessary to remove any uncertainty.” In his words, Kazakhstan “must confirm the continuity, predictability and stability of its domestic and foreign policies” and “this can be done only through the direct will of the people in an election.”
Kuspan updated the press on the profile and background of the seven candidates that have validly registered following the expiry of the registration deadline on 11 May, as well as campaigning, which is underway, reiterating that all seven candidates receive equal coverage on television and radio during the campaign period, which will continue until 8 June. She also mentioned that voting is not compulsory. Kazakhstan has a strong record of voter participation: average turnout in nine electoral scrutinies since 1999 stood at 81.57%, according to the US-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
The Ambassador also emphasised the cordiality of EU-Kazakh relations, further strengthened by the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) that was signed in 2015, the first and only such agreement that the bloc has signed with a Central Asian country so far.