Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is almost certain to be re-elected in a snap poll, extending his 26 years of rule by another five. The authoritarian leader faces no real opposition in the oil-exporting nation.
Kazakhstan is a huge country about the size of Western Europe with vast mineral resources. Ethnically, the Kazakhs make up over half the population with the Russians, a quarter. Islam is the main religion.
Date written/update: 2015-03-22