Kazakhstan: Land Commission Trudges On Amid Arrests
A public commission set up in Kazakhstan as an attempt to defuse tensions over contentious planned land auctions convened for its third session over the weekend, but was overshadowed by an ongoing campaign by prosecutors against anti-reform demonstrators.
Out of the 75 people initially nominated to the commission, which is intended as a platform of discussion between government officials and critics of the land reform, 62 turned up on May 28.
Deputy prime minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, who moderated the session, said the land commission would work for the next six months to compile public recommendations for submission to parliament. In the coming week, representatives from the commission will travel across the country to sound out public opinion.
The commission has been broken down into four working groups focusing on legal and economic aspects, as well as on how to draw up effective mechanisms for informing the public about, and enhancing transparency of, eventual land sales. The working groups met for the first time on May 25 to generate suggestions that will eventually be pooled at plenary sessions of the commission in Astana.
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