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Elections In Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan recently held flawed parliamentary elections. According to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O-S-C-E, the voting process in Kazakhstan showed some improvements but still failed to meet standards of fairness. In particular, vote counting in over forty percent of the polling stations was not conducted in a transparent manner.

U.S. State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos (guy-AY-go-ss) said the United States concurs with the O-S-C-E assessment:

"We take note of Kazakhstan's commitment to improve the election process and their Central Election Committee worked to increase the transparency and integrity of the elections. Nonetheless, there were serious shortcomings, including legal provisions such as a high threshold of seven percent for party representation in the parliament, the process by which victorious parties chose deputies from their list, and the fact that an unelected body appoints nine of the one-hundred seven seats in the lower house of parliament."

According to official results, Kazakhstan's governing party, Light of the Fatherland, won eighty-eight percent of the vote. It was the only political party to win at least seven percent of the vote needed to enter parliament. Under Kazakhstan's new system of proportional representation, Light of the Fatherland will receive all ninety-eight seats up for election. Nine seats will be filled later by appointment. Two opposition parties, the All-National Social Democratic Party and Bright Path, won about four percent and three percent respectively.

State Department spokesman Gallegos said the U.S. hopes "that the government of Kazakhstan will address these shortcomings as it continues to reform the elections law and promptly and fairly resolves any complaint and appeal related to violations of that law." The best guarantor of Kazakhstan's success would be a stable democratic system where all citizens have a stake in the future.