World

Kazakhstan's long-ruling president secures crushing election win with 98 percent of the vote

  • Kazakh women consulate each other after filling in their ballots before voting as a member of an election commission, right, points her the direction to a ballot box at a polling station outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Voters in Kazakhstan turned out in abundance at polling stations Sunday for a presidential election guaranteed to overwhelmingly reconfirm the 74-year-old incumbent, who has ruled over the former Soviet republic for more than 25 years. (AP Photo/Pavel Mikheyev)

    Kazakh women consulate each other after filling in their ballots before voting as a member of an election commission, right, points her the direction to a ballot box at a polling station outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Voters in Kazakhstan turned out in abundance at polling stations Sunday for a presidential election guaranteed to overwhelmingly reconfirm the 74-year-old incumbent, who has ruled over the former Soviet republic for more than 25 years. (AP Photo/Pavel Mikheyev)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kazakh election commission officials count ballots at a polling station after the presidential elections closed in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Voters in Kazakhstan turned out in abundance at polling stations Sunday for a presidential election guaranteed to overwhelmingly reconfirm the 74-year-old incumbent, who has ruled over the former Soviet republic for more than 25 years. (AP Photo/Pavel Mikheyev)

    Kazakh election commission officials count ballots at a polling station after the presidential elections closed in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Voters in Kazakhstan turned out in abundance at polling stations Sunday for a presidential election guaranteed to overwhelmingly reconfirm the 74-year-old incumbent, who has ruled over the former Soviet republic for more than 25 years. (AP Photo/Pavel Mikheyev)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man helps his son to cast his ballot at a polling station in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Voters in Kazakhstan turned out in abundance at polling stations Sunday for a presidential election guaranteed to overwhelmingly reconfirm the 74-year-old incumbent, who has ruled over the former Soviet republic for more than 25 years. (AP Photo/Alexei Filippov)

    A man helps his son to cast his ballot at a polling station in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Voters in Kazakhstan turned out in abundance at polling stations Sunday for a presidential election guaranteed to overwhelmingly reconfirm the 74-year-old incumbent, who has ruled over the former Soviet republic for more than 25 years. (AP Photo/Alexei Filippov)  (The Associated Press)

Election officials in Kazakhstan say preliminary results of Sunday's nationwide polls show the long-ruling president confirming his incumbency with 97.7 percent of the vote.

The Central Elections Commission said Monday that turnout reached a record 95 percent.

A crushing victory for 74-year-old Nursultan Nazarbavev was widely expected from the moment the snap elections were announced. Nazarbayev faced only two nominal rivals, and state media have for years nurtured an increasingly extravagant cult of personality devoted to him.

Authorities in the oil-rich Central Asian nation have said they hope the election will serve as a confirmation of legitimacy in uncertain times. Kazakhstan is facing a slowdown in economic growth amid falling oil prices and recession in neighboring Russia.