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Monday, June 27, 2005


Kazakh president takes no chances

From The International Herald Tribune:

Nazarbayev, 65, is expected to handily win re-election to another term in elections due in December.

So why is the Parliament he fully controls churning out repressive laws that will make election monitoring harder, restrict religious freedom, and put nongovernmental organizations, like the Republican Institute's Almaty office, virtually out of business?

The answer lies outside Kazakhstan's borders - in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Georgia, where entrenched, far less popular leaders presiding over corrupt regimes were ousted after being accused of rigging elections.

In all three cases, nongovernmental organizations were instrumental, in varying degrees, in countering the effects of a muzzled press and denouncing election fraud and corruption.

Time and again, Nazarbayev, whose popularity has never been low, has demonstrated that where power is concerned, he takes no chances and does what it takes to achieve eyebrow-raising results - like the election in 1991 when, after two years in power, he officially received 98.7 percent of the votes.

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