Kazakhstan welcomes international observers for January polls

December 24th, 2011 - 12:31 am ICT by IANS  

Astana, Dec 23 (IANS) Kazakhstan has said it would welcome international observers to monitor landmark parliament elections in mid January that would pave the way for a multi-party legislature in the largest economy among Central Asian nations.

?Kazakhstan will encourage active participation of international observers in the elections,? according to an official release from poll body chief Kuandyk Turgankulov.

Turgankulov underscored that ?international observers and representatives of foreign mass media may be present at all stages of the electoral process and at meetings of election commissions of all levels?.

Last month, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev dissolved the parliament and called for snap polls that had been scheduled for August.

Nur Otan, the ruling party currently holds 98 of the 107 seats in the Mazhilis or the assembly. But under a new election law, a minimum of two parties will enter parliament after the polls,

Changes to the electoral law will permit the second-placed party in the next election to enter parliament even if it falls short of the 7% threshold that guarantees a presence.

The country is set to vote in its new parliament Jan 15 and the preparations for the snap polls are in full swing.

The polling will be held in two phases on two successive days. The first part of the poll, the election from party lists, will be held Jan 15. The next day, other deputies will be chosen by the People’s assembly of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is Central Asia’s largest economy and oil producer and with market reforms it has achieved annual economic growth hovering around eight percent over the last decade. The country has successfully weathered the 2008 economic downturn.

The energy and mineral rich nation has attracted more than $120 billion in foreign investment since independence in 1992 after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

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