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Kazakhstan presidential candidates formally register ahead of upcoming elections

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Kazakhstan presidential candidates formally register ahead of upcoming elections

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Photo: Nikkei/Reuters

Kazakhstan’s presidential hopefuls will be able to officially register themselves as candidates today, ahead of an election on June 11.

Eight candidates are expected to put their names forward. The most notable of these is incumbent President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who succeeded long-time ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev when he unexpectedly stepped down in March. Mr Tokayev is expected to win in a landslide.

The main opposition Ak Zhol party, widely regarded as a pseudo-opposition to give Kazakhstan’s democracy legitimacy, will put forward Daniya Yespayeva—the first woman to run for president in the Central Asian country. While she stands virtually no chance of winning, her candidacy would break a norm in Kazakhstan’s traditionally patriarchal society.

This could lessen the shock of a future leadership transition to Mr Nazarbayev’s daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, who currently chairs the senate and is second-in-line for the presidency. Many expect Mr Tokayev to eventually hand over power to Ms Nazarbayeva, possibly in a future election.

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While such an outcome would mark Kazakhstan’s political system as overtly dynastic and could spark small protests, it would also allow the government to smoothly maintain the policies that have seen it become Central Asia’s most advanced economy.

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