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

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.