January 16, 2012 - 21:01 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - International election monitors say Kazakhstan's parliamentary election failed to meet basic democratic principles.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that despite the authorities' stated ambition to strengthen democratic processes, the January 15 vote "did not meet fundamental principles of democratic elections."
Speaking at a press conference in Astana on January 16, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Joao Soares noted that most opposition parties were blocked from running.
"If Kazakhstan authorities are serious about their stated goals of increasing the number of parties in parliament, then they should have allowed more genuine opposition parties to participate in this election," Soares said. "We hope this will change in the future."
According to preliminary results, the ruling Nur Otan party will be joined in the next parliament by two other political parties: Aq Zhol and the Communist People's Party - both considered to be loyal to President Nursultan Nazarbaev.
Election officials said Nur Otan won more than 80 percent of the vote, while Aq Zhol and the Communist People's Party got slightly over 7 percent each.
For the first time, the second-place party was guaranteed entry into the 107-seat Mazhilis, or lower house of parliament, even if it failed to pass the 7 percent threshold, Radio Free Europe reported.