Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. — Photo by Reuters

ASTANA: The ruling party of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev won 80.74 per cent of the vote in snap elections, retaining its dominant grip on parliament, early results showed Monday.

Nur Otan will be joined in parliament by the pro-business Ak Zhol (Bright Path) party, which polled 7.46 per cent, and the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan, which collected 7.2 per cent, the central election commission said.

None of the other four parties contesting Sunday's poll in the resource-rich Central Asian state broke through the seven-per cent threshold, meaning they will remain shut out of parliament.

The only vehemently anti-government party — the All-National Social Democratic Party (OSDP) — won just 1.59 per cent of the vote, Kazakh election chief Kuandyk Turgankulov told reporters.

“This is our shared victory,” Nazarbayev told his supporters moments after the results were announced.

“This means that the people of Kazakhstan will continue supporting our course of stability and unity.”

The snap polls had been called early to breathe new life into a system under which Nazarbayev, 71, put economic prosperity before political freedoms and in which his Nur Otan party has until now controlled all the seats in parliament.

The anti-government opposition has already alleged that the elections were marred by flagrant violations but Nazarbayev said on Sunday that the polls were “unprecedented in their transparency, openness and honesty”.

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