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Kazakh Opposition Protests Election Results

Some 200 opposition activists and supporters have rallied in Kazakhstan's largest city of Almaty to protest the results of the January 15 parliamentary elections.

According to preliminary official results, three parties -- the Nur Otan party of President Nursultan Nazarbaev and two pro-government parties, Aq Zhol and the Communist People's Party, won entry to the new parliament.

International observers said the election failed to meet basic democratic principles.

The protest was organized by the Social Democratic-Azat (Freedom) party which failed to pass the 7 percent threshold. (see report and video in Kazakh here)

Participants burned ballots in a symbolic protest against alleged election fraud.

The protest, which was peaceful and lasted about half an hour, had been sanctioned by Almaty city authorities.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission released the official results on January 17.

The Nur Otan party won 83 seats after winning 80.99 percent of the vote. The lower house of parliament, the Mazhilis, has 107 seats.

The Aq Zhol party won eight seats with 7.47 percent, and the Communist People's Party won seven with 7.19 percent.

The opposition Social Democratic-Azat party failed to win a seat with just 1.68 percent.

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, with agency reports