Obama’s victory secret? A Kazakh amulet

The Globe and Mail

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev (C), accompanied by security officers, waves during Navruz celebrations in Almaty March 22, 2007. Navruz, an ancient holiday marking the spring equinox, is widely celebrated across Central Asia. (SHAMIL ZHUMATOV/REUTERS)

U.S. President Barack Obama didn’t win re-election because of demographics, Hurricane Sandy or his team’s get-out-the-vote efforts.

No, he won because of a “special gift” from the President of Kazakhstan, according to one report.

Earlier this year, President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave Mr. Obama a tumar – a traditional Kazakh leather amulet – which led to his victory, claims a newspaper in the Central Asian republic.

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“We have to remember that in March this year, President Nazarbayev met with Barack Obama … Nazarbayev gave Obama a Kazakh tumar as a gift so that he could win in a landslide victory in the presidential elections. The Kazakh leader’s special gift brought victory to Obama,” the Nov. 8 report in Aikyn says, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Mr. Nazarbayev presented Mr. Obama with the decorative framed amulet during a summit on nuclear security in Seoul in March, telling him it was “for good luck,” according to a report in Kazinform. The leather pouches, which contain prayers from the Koran, are traditionally given to newborns and worn around the neck.

The long-time authoritarian leader rules the former Soviet republic with an iron fist, tolerating little dissent. In last year’s presidential elections, for example, he was re-elected with more than 95 per cent of the vote.