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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

 

Bush asks for fair elections in Kazakhstan

From The Guardian:

George Bush has written to the authoritarian president of oil-rich Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, to urge him to allow fair elections when the central Asian leader seeks a third term later this year.

"The latest events in the region have stressed the importance of a balanced economic growth, responsible governance and democratic development. I urge you to make sure that economic reforms are backed up with bold democratic reforms," said Mr Bush, according to an edited version of the letter.

The letter came in the wake of a revolution in Kyrgyzstan in March, during which an angry mob ousted the president Askar Akayev, and after bloodshed in Andijan, in Uzbekistan, where troops shot hundreds dead at a protest demanding that dictator Islam Karimov resign.

Speculation is rife that popular protests may seek to oust Mr Nazarbayev, whose family retains a tight grip on the country's economy, political life and oil reserves, thought by some to be second in size only to Saudi Arabia's.

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