Kazakhstan is holding snap parliamentary elections one year after protests in which 238 people lost their lives.
Sources reported a good turnout in all polling stations, which opened early on Sunday.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced the early vote as part of a “modernization” drive after the killing of 238 people in the protests.
Tokayev, a former diplomat, was hand-picked by his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2019 to take the helm after nearly three decades of rule.
This election is significant as independent candidates are allowed to run for parliament for the first time in nearly 20 years. Seven parties will participate in the election, while two of them were recently registered.
The threshold to enter the 98-seat legislature has been lowered to five percent, and a 30 percent quota was introduced for women, young people, and people with disabilities.
The riots that grew out of peaceful demonstrations against a fuel price spike led to the snap presidential vote in November, in which Tokayev was re-elected with a landslide win in an election criticized for lacking competition.
These parliamentary elections come as the ruling political party consolidates its power, and the international community is watching closely to see how the new parliament will function and whether it will bring about meaningful change for the country.
Read more Political News