Voting is under way in Kazakhstan’s presidential election. The ballot is expected to return to power long standing President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Critics say the country is yet to hold a free and fair election, but that does not seem to have dented the popularity of Nazarbayev. He is credited with maintaining stability in the country since he came to power in 1989, and improving economic growth.
The leading opposition candidate is already crying foul with claims of vote rigging. He has also complained of harassment during the election campaign. Critics of the president claim Washington and others will turn a blind eye to any irregularities in today’s poll – eager to preserve good relations – all in the name of oil.
Nazerbayev has dismissed opposition claims that the minority elite benefit from the country’s oil wealth, while others are left in poverty. The president insists that his country is on the road towards democracy, but it has to be at its own pace.