Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party has named Alexandre Vinokourov among its list of candidates for the country’s forthcoming general election, which takes place on January 15.
Vinokourov’s name was greeted with generous applause when it was announced before delegates on Friday during the unveiling of the party's 127 candidates. Nur Otan is currently the only party represented in the Mazhilis, the lower chamber of the Kazakh parliament.
“It’s an honour for me to participate in the election as a candidate for a position as a deputy,” Vinokourov said, according to dhnet.be.
Kazakhstan uses a list system to elect its members of parliament, meaning that if elected, Vinokourov would not have to take up his seat immediately and could replace a sitting Nur Otan deputy at a later date.
The Astana rider, who had previously announced that he would retire in 2011, is now expected to take part in the London 2012 Olympics and he hinted that he would not enter parliament until after he calls time on his controversial career.
“I want to finish this year in the saddle, and maybe next year participate in the Olympic Games, concentrate on them and afterwards help Kazakhstan as I can,” Vinokourov said.
Vinokourov took silver in the road race in Sydney in 2000, but missed the Beijing Olympics as he was serving a two-year suspension for blood doping. He is joined on the Nur Otan electoral list by two of Kazakhstan's gold medallists from Sydney, Olga Shishigina (100 metres hurdles) and Yermakhan Ibraimov (boxing).
Nur Otan is widely expected to dominate the election and consolidate the rule of president Nursultan Nazarbayev. However, changes to the electoral system are set to guarantee the second-placed party a presence in parliament even if it fails to gain the 7% of the popular vote previously necessary to secure representation.