The Nur Otan party, owned and controlled by Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan received 88 percent of Saturday’s vote and no other party cleared the 7 percent mark needed to win a seat in the legislature. Thus the president’s party won all the seats! Nazarbayev has been ruling Kazakhstan since 1989 when it was still a Soviet republic. This election was needy to demonstrate Kazakhstan’s commitment to democracy so that Nazarbayev could become chairman in 2009 of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The endeavor seems to have paid as an observer mission from OSCE said that although a number of international standards were not met, the elections showed welcome progress toward democracy. However, none of the elections held by Kazakhstan since it became independent after the 1991 Soviet collapse had been assessed as free and fair by the OSCE. Such elections are widely seen as maneuvers by Nazarbayev to improve Kazakhstan’s democratic image while maintaining his own grip on power. This country is important to regional powers Russia and China because of its substantial oil and gas reserves. The United States also has sought greater access to Kazakh energy resources.