Marat: The growing protest sentiment and fear among the Kazakh authorities of losing control could lead to more robust measures from the police

PONARS Eurasia
11 Jun 2019

(Eurasianet) The results of Kazakhstan’s presidential election pose a puzzle. Both for the government and its opponents.

As anticipated, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ran away with the vote. Preliminary results announced on the morning of June 10 showed him getting 70.8 percent of ballots cast. His nearest rival, opposition-lite candidate Amirzhan Kosanov garnered a surprisingly respectable 16 percent.

As was often the case with his predecessor, mentor and power-behind-the-throne, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who stepped down in March, the public appeal of Tokayev lies in the perception that he will guarantee continuity. [...]

“The growing protest sentiment and the fear among the authorities of losing control over the political situation could lead to more robust measures from the police. This could cause injuries or even lethal outcomes. Escalation scenarios are well-known in the post-Soviet space,” Marat told Eurasianet. [...]

“The best thing that Tokayev could do to reduce tensions is to give young people and the wider public more opportunities to take part in political forums,” said Marat. “To give those criticizing the authorities more options for forming rival parties and to create stronger dialogue between the state apparatus and the public in general.”

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Homepage image by Danil Usmanov.