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Kazakhstan goes to polls in parliamentary vote

ASTANA, Kazakhstan: Citizens of energy-rich Kazakhstan went to the polls Sunday, in an early parliamentary election expected to provide a commanding majority for ageing autocrat President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s ruling Nur Otan party.

Close to 10 million people are eligible to vote in the ballot, held early amid economic gloom in the Central Asian state and featuring six parties mostly supportive of the country’s Russia-aligned leader.

Nazarbayev, 75, has ruled Kazakhstan virtually unopposed since before independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 — and has not designated a successor.

Over 9,800 polling stations in the vast landlocked republic had opened by 0200 GMT, with voting across the country expected to conclude by 1500 GMT. APP