There were expectations that the January 10 elections in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan would fail to truly reflect the will of the people in those two Central Asian neighbors.
Now that preliminary results are in, they look even worse than feared.
Kazakhstan's vote was its first parliamentary elections since Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev became president nearly two years ago.
Campaigning was barely noticeable, but election officials still claimed that more than 63 percent of voters cast ballots.
Despite Toqaev's promises of allowing genuine opposition parties to participate in politics, no such parties were registered and allowed on the ballot, though several tried.
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