Nazarbaev says the elections were "open and transparent" (file photo)
Astana, 19 September 2004 -- Early results in Kazakhstan's parliamentary elections indicate that parties close to President Nursultan Nazarbaev hold a solid lead.
Kazakh electoral officials said the president's Otan party had garnered about 43 percent of votes counted, followed by his daughter Dariga's Asar party with about 19 percent. Third was the opposition Ak Zhol party with about 17 percent of the vote.
Preliminary figures from the Electoral Commission indicate a low turnout of some 54 percent of Kazakhstan's 8.5 million eligible voters. The election was for seat's in parliament's lower house, the Mazhilis.
In casting his vote, Nazarbaev defended the election as open and transparent. But many opposition leaders disagree. And the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has also said that the Otan and Asar parties had been allowed to dominate media coverage and public advertising during the campaign.