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Kazakhstan: Genuine Pluralism Remains Elusive as Observers Slam Election

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Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party has won its expected landslide in a January 15 parliamentary election – a month after at least 17 protestors were shot dead by security forces – and will be joined in parliament by two other parties, preliminary results show.

Although Kazakhstan's next parliament will be multi-party, unlike its predecessor in which President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Nur Otan held all seats, observers doubt the new Mazhilis (lower house) will be genuinely pluralistic. The two parties assuming seats alongside Nur Otan – the pro-business Ak Zhol and the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (KNPK) – are broadly supportive of Nazarbayev and his policies. Genuine opposition forces cried foul, and international observers also found fault with the election.

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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.

Kazakhstan: Genuine Pluralism Remains Elusive as Observers Slam Election

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