Prague, 5 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Central Election Commission Chairman Onalsyn Zhumabekov said preliminary results indicated that President Nazarbaev won 91 percent of yesterday's vote, while his main challenger, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai of the For a Just Kazakhstan bloc, finished a distant second.
"For Nursultan Nazarbaev, 6,694,000 voters or 91.01 percent of the electorate cast ballots. Zharmakhan Tuyakbai received 445,047 or 6.64 percent of the votes," Zhumabekov announced. He added that final results will not be available for another 10 days, but they are not expected to differ significantly from the preliminary results. He declared the election valid.
Nazarbaev’s victory was more decisive than most observers had predicted. Shortly after the announcement of his victory, Nazarbaev told a rally in the capital Astana that his reelection to another seven-year term is "a victory for the country, for all Kazakhs."
"The people voted for our country's stability, for our nation's unity, for our state's modernization, for the improvement of people's lives, for the future of our children and grandchildren. I consider it a victory for the Kazakh people. I thank all those who voted for me yesterday," Nazarbaev said.
Nazarbaev, who has ruled the oil-rich nation since 1989, said the victory was recognition of his work in recent years. He promised to double salaries and pensions during his next term and to raise per capita income to the level of Eastern European countries.
However, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) declared that yesterday's elections failed to meet international democratic standards. This conclusion has taken some of the sheen off the victory.
In a statement, the OSCE noted that there was some improvement in comparison with previous elections. But its 465 monitors reported that the remaining flaws "limited the possibility for a meaningful competition." It noted restrictions on campaigning, and reported intimidation, interference, and ballot-box stuffing.
Over 1,600 foreign observers monitored the election to ensure elections are not rigged.
Among them was the Russian-led CIS election monitoring group headed by Vladimir Rushailo. In the past assessments by CIS monitors of elections in the former Soviet republics have clearly differed from those of the OSCE. Yesterday's poll was not different.
Rushailo announced that his team determined that the Kazakh election was fair. "The state electoral bodies that organized elections in the Republic of Kazakhstan ensured the realization and protection of the electoral rights of citizens in the presidential elections of Kazakhstan," he said. "International observers from the CIS concluded that Kazakhstan’s presidential elections of 4 December 2005 were held in accordance with the country’s legislation. We assess them as free, open, and legitimate."
The opposition was taken aback by the official results. Several of Nazarbaev's challengers, inlcuding Tuyakbai, disputed the results, complaining of numerous election irregularities.
"The preliminary results of yesterday's election announced by the Central Election Commission are a result of unprecedented violations of the constitution by the authorities during the election campaign and on election day. We consider this extremely dishonest and unjust, although Mr. President [Nazarbaev], who is an organizer of this farce himself, promised the Kazakh people before [the election] that the vote would be open and fair. But they were nothing like that," Tuyakbai said.
Tuyakbai said yesterday that his supporters would not take to the streets but would collect information about Electoral Code violations and file cases against the election authorities. Authorities have banned street demonstrations before the vote counting is complete and final official results are announced.