Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (official site)
August 18, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Voting is under way in Kazakhstan's early elections to the Mazhilis, the lower house of parliament, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.
Citing the Central Election Commission, news agencies reported a turnout of 12.4 percent in the first few hours of voting.
Germany's dpa news agency cited an international election observer as describing the polls as "transparent" and "open."
Some 8.9 million Kazakhs are entitled to vote in the parliamentary elections, which are being contested by seven parties. The Nur Otan party of President Nursultan Nazarbaev is widely expected to retain control of the 107-member lower house.
Exporting Kazakhstan's Energy
Work on a Kazakh pipeline (TASS file photo)
PRESSURE FROM THE KREMLIN? Columbia University political science professor Kimberly Marten told an RFE/RL briefing that Russia seems to be using its control of gas pipelines in the former Soviet Union to pursue its goals in Kazakhstan.