With Kazakhstan’s meticulously staged parliamentary election now complete, only one question remains to be answered: Why?
Preliminary results published by the Central Election Commission on March 21 showed that the election had returned a parliament identical to the previous one. President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Nur Otan party secured 82.15 percent of the vote. And only two other parties — the only ones already with seats in the Mazhilis, the lower house of parliament — overcame the 7 percent threshold.
The election was held on the eve of Nowruz, a popular holiday across Central Asia that marks the Persian New Year and celebrates renewal. The symbolism was not accidental.
In the run-up to the vote, Nazarbayev was unambiguous in his desire to see regeneration among the cadres — excluding himself and his immediate circle, that is.
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