Kazakh ruling party sweeps poll

Opposition parties fail to reach 7 per cent threshold to gain parliament seats.

    The Kazakh president's electoral victories have never been judged free and fair [AFP]
    However, the monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) also said Saturday's vote was a step forward.
     
    Senator Consiglio Di Nino, co-ordinator of the OSCE monitors, in a statement on Sunday, said: "Notwithstanding the concerns contained in the report, I believe that these elections continue to move Kazakhstan forward in its evolution towards a democratic country."
     
    Mixed record

     

    Nursultan Nazarbayev, 67, in power since Soviet times in 1989, has overseen rapid economic growth in the oil-rich Central Asian state.

     

    However, the president's electoral victories have never been judged free and fair by international poll monitors.

       

    Nazarbayev got the lower house of parliament
    to remove term limits on his presidency [EPA]

    Saturday's poll for the lower house of parliament, the Mazhilis, set Nazarbayev's wish to keep a tight grip on the vast country against his desire to be viewed in the West as a reforming international statesman.    

     

    The ANSDP said it had gathered photographic evidence of a range of violations, including multiple voting and campaign literature for Nur Otan in polling stations.

     

    Nazarbayev wants Kazakhstan to chair the OSCE, a 56-member democracy, rights and security body, in 2009 but has faced opposition due to his poor record on democracy.

       

    He called the election two years early after enacting constitutional changes that hand the lower house more powers such as naming the prime minister.

     

    They also removed any limit on how many terms he can serve as president.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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