An outspoken critic of the president of Kazakhstan has been found dead at his home in the former capital, Almaty.
The lawyer for Zamanbek Nurkadilov, 61, said his client was shot three times but police have refused to comment before an autopsy is carried out.
The former government minister was sacked after calling for President Nursultan Nazarbayev to resign.
President Nazarbayev has expressed his condolences and ordered an official investigation into the death.
Mr Nurkadilov had backed a rival of Mr Nazarbayev for the presidential election on 4 December.
Mr Nurkadilov's lawyer said his client, a former key ally of the president, was shot twice in the chest and once in the head on Saturday evening.
The police said CCTV footage showed there had been no intruders.
President Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan since 1989
An opposition leader, Gulzhan Yergaliyeva, said: "Knowing Nurkadilov's political position and his forthright manner to express his views, we cannot exclude that his murder was politically motivated."
Mr Nurkadilov lost his job last year after accusing Mr Nazarbayev of authoritarianism and calling for him to quit.
Earlier this year, he was convicted of slandering the president after he alleged that Mr Nazarbayev was responsible for the death of a journalist.
Mr Nurkadilov was backing the candidate of the opposition movement For A Just Kazakhstan, Zharmakhan Tuyakba, in the election.
Mr Nurkadilov had earlier compared the president to Romania's ousted dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.
President Nazarbayev has ruled the central Asian nation since 1989 and analysts say he is widely expected to win a new seven-year term.