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Kazakhstan: Parliament Passes Land-Reform Bill

Astana, 20 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Both houses of the Kazakh parliament today passed a Land Code that would allow private ownership for the first time in Kazakhstan. The legislation was passed in a joint session in the capital Astana. Thirty-two of the 39 senators in the upper house voted for the bill and 54 of 77 deputies in the lower house were in favor.

Disputes over the bill in parliament caused former Prime Minister Imanghaliy Tasmaghambetov to resign last week. A new government led by Daniyal Akhmetov has since been appointed by President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

In the version approved today, the moratorium on subleases of land was extended to 2005 rather than 2004, because Nazarbaev had insisted more time is be needed to carry out the far-reaching reforms.

The Agriculture Ministry says some one-third of Kazakhstan's 270 million hectares is used for agriculture.