MOSCOW (AP) — Voters in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan have given an overwhelming approval to proposed constitutional changes widely seen as an attempt to repudiate the legacy of Nursultan Nazarbayev. The former strongman led the ex-Soviet republic for three decades. Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission said Monday that 77% of voters supported the constitutional amendments in Sunday’s referendum according to preliminary results. Just under 19% voted against them and about 2.6% of ballots were found invalid. The vote was called by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. He has steadily strengthened his grip on power after violent demonstrations in January left more than 230 people dead. The protests reflected wide public discontent with a stagnant economy and authoritarian government.
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