Kazakh President Tokayev wins re-election with 81.3% of vote

ASTANA (Reuters) -Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev secured a second term in Sunday’s snap election, winning 81.31% of the vote, the central Asian nation’s Central Election Commission said on Monday, citing preliminary data.

The 69-year-old former diplomat had been widely expected to extend his rule over the oil-rich nation by seven years and get a strong mandate to continue his increasingly independent foreign policy, as the former Soviet republic navigates the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Voter turnout stood at 69.44%, with five other candidates scoring in the low single digits, data showed. The second most popular option picked by voters was “against everyone”, with 5.8% of ballots.

Several fellow central Asian leaders congratulated Tokayev on Monday morning before the preliminary results were announced, as exit polls published earlier showed similar figures.