Kazakhstan’s only registered opposition party declined to run candidates on Sunday.

The ruling party of Kazakhstan has consolidated the parliament in the elections without opposition, officials said on Monday.

The Central Election Commission said the ruling Nur Otan party won 71 percent of the vote in Sunday’s general election, and two other pro-government parties also won seats.

The Nur Otan Party is led by former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who stepped down in 2019 after almost three decades in power, but still has broad clout. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who succeeded him as president of the country, welcomed the vote on Sunday as “a further step in the democratic development of the country”.

The country’s only registered opposition party refused to nominate candidates.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said in a statement that “an uncompetitive campaign and systematic de facto restrictions on constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms did not leave voters a real choice”.

OSCE observers noted in their statement that the political landscape of the nation is heavily dominated by the ruling party and that the distinction between party and government is often blurred.

“Since all political parties that took part in the elections supported the politics of the ruling party, the campaign was not competitive and voters had no real political alternatives to choose from,” said the OSCE.

Several dozen protesters were briefly arrested in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, and in the capital Nur-Sultan.

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