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Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 06:16 GMT
Massive victory for Kazakh leader
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev has been in power for 16 years
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has easily won re-election, according to preliminary results.

He had polled 91% of the vote, the electoral commission announced.

Mr Nazarbayev has headed the oil-rich Central Asian state since 1989 - two years before independence. His win will mean a further seven years in power.

The opposition complained of "multiple violations" in the election. Previous votes in Kazakhstan have been adjudged neither free nor fair.

The results are just absurd
Zharmakhan Tuyakbai's campaign chief

The main opposition challenger Zharmakhan Tuyakbai had won 7% of the vote, the electoral commission said.

The other three candidates combined had polled less than 3%, it said.

The head of the commission said the final results from Sunday's ballot were due in 10 days but were not expected to vary significantly.

About 450 monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Parliament have been observing the poll and will hold a news conference about their findings later on Monday.

'Equal conditions'

Addressing a rally of some 4,000 of his cheering supporters in the capital, Astana, Mr Nazarbayev described the election as "unprecedented, open and fair".

Voters in the Kazakh city of Almaty share their views

He said that "the people of Kazakhstan won", but added that " we also need an opposition".

The president earlier said that all five candidates had equal conditions and the same media access.

However, Mr Tuyakbai's campaign manager described the results as "absurd," according to Reuters news agency.

Opposition candidates have complained that they had no chance of putting across their message to voters because the media was largely under government control.

The election is being seen as an important test of whether this vast country is moving towards greater political openness, says the BBC's Ian MacWilliam in Astana.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Background to the Kazakh election



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