EFEAstana

President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Monday praised "the unity shown by all Kazakhs" after official preliminary results showed him winning the previous day's presidential polling with 97.7 percent of the vote.

"Today is a marked day. Kazakhs have once again demonstrated the unity of a multiethnic nation that overcomes all obstacles. Most of Kazakhstan came out to vote yesterday," Nazarbayev said in reference to voter turnout data confirming that more than 95 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots.

The Kazakh leader said he was touched to see "entire families, with their children and grandchildren, queuing for an hour or more" to exercise their right to vote.

"I saw everything, and it brought tears to my eyes. It causes one to feel the added responsibility, to start thinking day and night about what to do for our people's well-being," concluded Nazarbayev.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated his colleague's election victory and noted in a telegram sent to Astana, "the unquestionable respect Nazarbayev enjoys among the citizens of Kazakhstan, who have demonstrated with their vote broad support for the course taken by the Kazakh head of State."

Meanwhile, the observer mission of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) described the elections as "free, transparent, open and consistent with democratic principles."

"The organs of power in Kazakhstan and election commissions at all levels guaranteed the free expression of the will of the citizens during the elections," said the head of the CIS observer mission, Sergey Lebedev.

According to the official Central Electoral Commission, the other two candidates vying for the nation's highest post, Turgun Syzdykov, of the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan, and independent candidate Abelgazy Kussainov garnered 1.6 percent and about 0.7 percent respectively.

Commission President Kuandik Turgankulov, said official final results would be announced by May 3 at the latest.

"The Central Electoral Commission, according to election laws, shall establish the results within a period of one week, in other words, no later than May 3," he told a press conference in Astana.