Parliamentary elections underway in Kazakhstan

Nur-Sultan, Jan 10 (IANS) Kazakh voters headed to parliamentary polls on Sunday, with five political parties vying for seats in the Majilis, or the lower chamber of Parliament.

According to the Central Election Commission of Kazakhstan, a total of 10,060 polling stations have been set up at home and abroad, Xinhua news agency reported.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m.

An exit poll is expected later Sunday night.

In total, 312 candidates are applying for seats in the Majilis.

About 400 international observers will monitor the voting process.

Each party needs to gain more than 7 per cent of the vote to enter Parliament.

Currently, three parties are represented in Parliament — the ruling Nur Otan Party, the Ak Zhol Democratic Party, and the People’s Party, formerly known as the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan.

This year, the Auyl Party and the Adal Party have also joined the parliamentary race.

To prevent the spread of Covid-19, voters are required to wear masks and gloves and observe social distance.

Kazakhstan amended its legislation in 2020 by allocating a mandatory 30 per cent quota for women and young people in the Majilis to encourage their participation in politics.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also called on Parliament to provide high-quality legislative support for socio-economic reforms last year.

The Kazakh Parliament consists of two chambers: the upper Senate and the lower Majilis.

The lower house consists of 107 deputies who serve a five-year term.

Among them, 98 are elected directly from party lists during the election, while the remaining nine are elected by the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, an advisory body representing the country’s major ethnic groups.

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