Kazakhstan poll failed to meet 'basic standards'


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The Independent Online

International monitors have criticised Sunday's parliamentary election in Kazakhstan for failing to meet the basic standards of a democratic poll.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said there was no genuine competition.

Preliminary results showed that President Nursultan Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party had won 80.7 per cent of the vote. Ak Zhol, which avoids confrontation with the government, and the People's Communist Party each gained just over 7 per cent.

Although that ends the total control of parliament once held by the President's party, a more combative Communist party was suspended by a court for six months in October for violating the law on public organisations, thus ruling out its participation.

Another party, Alga, which has been critical of the government, has routinely been denied registration.

"If Kazakhstan is serious about their stated goals of increasing the number of parties in parliament, then the country should have allowed more genuine opposition parties to participate," Joao Soares, who led the OSCE observer mission, said.