Opposition protests Kazakh election result

Jan. 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM

ALMATY, Kazakhstan, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Opposition groups in Kazakhstan protested the results of a weekend election after an election committee said the ruling party won 80 percent of the vote.

The ruling Nur Otan party of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and pro-government parties Aq Zhol and the Communist People's Party passed the 7 percent threshold needed to take seats in the country's 107-seat lower house of Parliament.

The country's election commission announced official results Tuesday that indicated Nur Otan secured nearly 81 percent of the vote and the two pro-government parties just passing the 7 percent mark, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

Around 200 activists rallied in Almaty in demonstrations organized by the Social Democrat-Freedom party, which won 1.6 percent of the weekend vote. RFE/RL notes the protests were peaceful and sanctioned by city authorities.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe described the elections as "well administrated" but short of international standards for democracy.

There is no record of open elections in an independent Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev dissolved the legislative assembly in November in favor of a multiparty system. He's been president of an independent Kazakhstan since 1991.

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