Kazakhstan Holds Parliamentary Polls: President Kassym-Jomart Announced Early Vote As Parts Of Political Reforms

Kazakhstan holds Snap Parliamentary Elections today as the leader of the central Asian country pushes political reforms that critics say are designed to consolidate power.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced the early vote as part of a "Modernisation" drive introduced months after protests against fuel prices erupted in January last year. The violent protests claimed 238 lives.

Tokayev, a former diplomat, was hand-picked in 2019 by his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev to take the helm after a nearly three-decade rule.

He promised to reform government institutions and in January dissolved parliament, saying early polls would "give new impetus to the modernisation".

Independent candidates are allowed to run for Parliament for the first time in nearly 20 years, whereas the previous lower house was made up of three pro-government parties.

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.