Polling stations for voting in the early presidential election in Kazakhstan have opened throughout the country, Mukhtar Yerman, Secretary of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan, said, APA reports citing Sputnik.
"According to the latest data provided by the regional commissions of the cities of Almaty, Shymkent and Astana, voting has started at all 10,033 polling stations across the country and 17 polling stations at the representative offices of the Republic of Kazakhstan in foreign countries," Yerman said at a press briefing on Sunday morning.
He specified that another 51 polling stations abroad will open taking into account the difference in time zones.
As of 7:00 a.m. Astana time (01:00 GMT), polling stations were open in most of Kazakhstan’s regions. Voting will end at 20:00 Astana time on Sunday. In the western regions, due to the time difference, polling stations will close an hour later.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev voted on Sunday morning at one of the polling stations in the capital city, Astana. Asked by a reporter whether the government will be dismissed after the election and whether a "political reset" will take place, Tokayev said that there will be some changes in government, but the law does not require the government to resign after the presidential election, unlike parliamentary elections.
"As for the timing of the parliamentary elections, I will make a special statement about this at the end of the year," the president said.
Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan Azamat Sergazin told Sputnik on Friday that there had not been any known efforts by foreign entities to influence the country's election preparation. Six people were registered as presidential candidates, including the incumbent president.
The election will be the first since 33 amendments to the Constitution of Kazakhstan were approved in a referendum in March. The amendments were introduced after mass protests in January caused by a twofold increase in gas prices. The new constitution includes a greater role of parliament, while former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was relieved of all his powers.