Observers slam 'undemocratic' Kazakh election

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Observers slam 'undemocratic' Kazakh election

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International monitors on Monday condemned Kazakhstan’s parliamentary election as undemocratic.

Observers said there was no real opposition to President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s ruling National Democratic Party, which won over 80 percent of the vote.

“This election took place in a tightly controlled environment, with serious restrictions on citizens’ electoral rights,” said Miklos Haraszti, head of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ observation mission.

Only two parties cleared the seven percent threshold to enter parliament: the pro-business Bright Path party and the Communist People’s Party.

Both avoid confrontation with the government.

Bulat Abilov, the leader of the All-National Social Democratic Party which polled 1.6 per cent, said it was the only true opposition group in Kazakhstan.

Abilov, who had been barred from standing over an incorrect income declaration, told reporters that the elections were rigged and were marred by ballot-stuffing.

“We should not have held these elections at all,” he was quoted as saying. “Once again, they were marred by black PR against our party, as well as by agenda-driven public polls”.

Nazarbayev hailed his party’s victory as a vote for stability, despite growing frustration over unequal distribution of the country’s vast mineral wealth.

It holds three percent of global oil reserves and is the world’s largest uranium miner.