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08:48, 10 June 2019

Kazakhstan elects Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as hundreds arrested in protests

AKIPRESS.COM - Kazakhstan has elected Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the hand-picked successor of former longtime president Nursultan Nazarbayev, with around 70 percent of the vote, exit polls showed.

The government-approved "Public Opinion" pollster on Sunday gave Tokayev, 66, a career diplomat and interim president, 70 percent of the vote while his closest rival Amirzhan Kosanov got 15 percent.

Preliminary results were expected early Monday.

The exit poll came as hundreds of people were arrested in rare protests in capital Nur-Sultan and the country's main commercial city, Almaty.

The protesters were calling for a boycott of the snap election, which they allege was staged to put in office a politician loyal to 78-year-old leader Nazarbayev, who resigned in March, Al Jazeera reports. 

About 500 people, who wanted to destabilize public order, were detained by police, the First Deputy Interior Minister Marat Kojayev told a briefeing at the Central Election Commission. 

"Police behaved correctly," he said. 

The demonstrators attempted to hold an unlawful rallies in the cities of Nur-Sultan and Almaty, according to him.

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