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Kazakh Report: October 8, 2002


8 October 2002

ELECTIONS HELD TO UPPER CHAMBER OF KAZAKH PARLIAMENT
Sixteen new members of the Senate -- the upper chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament -- were elected on 8 October. According to the Kazakh Constitution, seven of the 39 senators are directly appointed by President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Their six year term expires in 2005. The Maslikhats (Councils) of Kazakhstan's 14 oblasts and of the country's two largest cities, Astana and Almaty, elect two candidates to the senate. Those elections take place at three year intervals, with 16 senators being elected at each ballot for a six year term.

The full results of the elections will be officially announced later this week, but it is already known that Astana City Council elected first deputy mayor Farid Galimov, a former chairman of State Commission on the move of the capital from Almaty to Astana. Zhumabek Toregeldinov, who is a secretary of the Almaty city council, was elected to represent the council in the senate.

Compatriots Party leader Zhaqsybay Bazylbayev held a press conference in Almaty on 8 October at whch he said that the senate elections could not be defined as fair. He said Toregeldinov's election is tantamount to abuse of power on the part of the city council.

Representatives of OSCE mission in Almaty told RFE/RL that they did not observe the elections because they are not direct elections but polls conducted by the respective councils. They said that OSCE is more interested in elections to the Mazhilis - the lower parliament chamber -- in which the entire electorate is able to participate.

MEMBER OF UAE RULING FAMILY VISITS ASTANA
President Nursultan Nazarbayev met behind closed doors in Astana on 8 October with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates led by Vice Commander of UAE's Armed Forces Prince-next-in-line Sheikh Halifa bin Zaid al-Nazaya. Prince Sheikh Halifa reportedly refused to speak to the press after those talks. He also met with Kazakh Premier Imanghaliy Tasmaghambetov.

The presidential and government press services reported that both sets of talks focussed primarily on economic issues, such as bilateral trade and the participation of UAE's companies in construction projects in Astana.

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