1999 Kazakh presidential election
Presidential elections were held in Kazakhstan on 10 January 1999. Incumbent president Nursultan Nazarbayev won the election with over 80% of the vote, and was sworn into office on 20 January 1999. Most observers viewed the election as blatantly unfair, further confirming that Nazarbayev was not interested in promoting a democratic system of government. Voter turnout was reported to be 87.0%.
Kazakhstan's second presidential election was originally scheduled to occur in 1996. However, after a 1995 referendum the date was then set to be in December 2000. Parliamentary action in the fall of 1998, however, ultimately resulted in the election occurring in early 1999.
— Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Article 94
Acting under this new amendment, the following day Parliament asked Nazarbayev to shorten his current term in office. The president agreed, after which the Majilis set January 10, 1999 as the date for new elections.
The main opposition candidate, Akezhan Kazhegeldin, was barred from running in the election, a move criticized by many observers. A recently passed law prohibited anyone convicted of a crime from running in the election. Kazhegeldin had recently been convicted of participating in an unsanctioned election rally, thereby becoming ineligible to seek office.
|Serikbolsyn Abdildin||Communist Party of Kazakhstan||857,386||11.9|
|Engels Gabbasov||Party of People's Unity of Kazakhstan||55,708||0.8|
|Source: Nohlen et al.|
For the first time in a Kazakh election, ballots included an option to vote against all candidates. Nazarbayev's party, the Party of People's Unity of Kazakhstan, was reformed into the Otan Party two months after the election.
Even before the election, groups such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) expressed concern about the short preparation and campaigning period. OSCE pressed the Kazakh government to postpone the election so that all candidates could have adequate time to campaign, but to no avail. U.S. Vice President Al Gore called Nazarbayev in November 1998 to express concerns about the upcoming election.
The lack of fair access to mass media also concerned many observers. According to OSCE, most major media outlets focused disproportionately on Nazarbayev.
Serikbolsyn Abdilin, the runner-up in the election, claimed widespread voter fraud and a failure to properly count ballots.
- Olcott, 117.
- "Kazakhstan's Empty Election". The New York Times. November 9, 1998. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- OSCE-ODIHR, 3, 19-21.
- Olcott, 119.
- Smith, Christopher (March 16, 1999). "Kazakhstan's Presidential Election - Extension of Remarks by Rep. Christopher H. Smith". U.S. House of Representatives. Archived from the original on July 19, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p424 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
- Constitution of Kazakhstan Archived 2008-02-08 at the Wayback Machine Legislation Online
- "From "Democratization" To Snap Presidential Elections". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- OSCE-ODIHR, 7.
- "OSCE wants Kazakhstan election postponed". BBC. December 3, 1998. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- OSCE-ODIHR, 8.
- Olcott, 93.
- OSCE-ODIHR, 3.
- OSCE-ODIHR, 12-14.
- Defeated Communist Candidate to Protest Kazakhstan Election Outcome Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (January 13, 1999)
- Olcott, Martha Brill (2002). Kazakhstan: Unfulfilled Promise. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ISBN 0-87003-188-0.
- OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) (February 5, 1999). "The Republic of Kazakhstan Presidential Election, 10 January 1999 - Assessment Mission" (PDF). Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Retrieved 2008-06-24.