Pro-Nazarbaev Party Merges With President's Power Base
<div class="caption"><div class="watermark"> <a href="http://gdb.rferl.org/C889390C-5177-4182-AD59-857EDAEB2990_mw800_mh600.jpg" rel="ibox" title="President Nazarbaev campaigning ahead of his December 2005 reelection (official website)"> <img alt="President Nazarbaev campaigning ahead of his December 2005 reelection (official website)" src="http://gdb.rferl.org/C889390C-5177-4182-AD59-857EDAEB2990_w203.jpg" class="photo" border="0"></a></div><p>President Nazarbaev campaigning ahead of his December 2005 reelection (official website)</p></div>November 10, 2006 -- The Civic Party of Kazakhstan (QAP) officially merged today with Otan (Fatherland),<br />the country's largest political grouping and President Nursultan Nazarbaev's power base.
The decision was made at a party congress in Astana.
Addressing delegates, QAP leader Azat Peruashev justified the move by saying "the interests of the nation" should take precedence over everything else.
President Nazarbaev, who attended the congress, said he expected more parties to merge with Otan in the future.
Kazakhstan has now 10 officially registered parties, most of which back the president.
Nazarbaev today said the country should have fewer but stronger parties that could "efficiently defend the interests of the population."
Asar, (All Together), the political grouping of Nazarbaev's daughter Darigha, merged with Otan in July.
Otan's membership is expected to reach nearly 1 million with today's merger.
Kazakhstan has a population of 15.3 million.
(Kazakhstan Today, Interfax-Kazakhstan)