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Kazakhstan May Ban Preelection Protests

Astana, March 10 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission chief says that changes may be made to election laws that would see a ban on public protests after preelection campaigns.

Zagipa Balieva made her remarks at press conference today in the Kazakh capital Astana.

Commenting on the idea, Kazakh parliamentarian Serik Abdrakhmanov today told RFE/RL that possible amendments to the election law should be made to ensure "really fair elections" in the country.

"We have to ban any mass gatherings and demonstrations as soon as the preelection campaign is over. You know that there are some political forces in our country who realize their weakness. They know that they have no supporters and have no chance to win. So they plan some kinds of revolutions of orange or other colors. We have to organize really fair elections and if we have fair elections, our people will trust us and never go out to the streets," Abdrakhmanov said.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear when Kazakhstan is to hold its next presidential elections.

Balieva today said they should be held in December 2006 -- a year later than the opposition says the vote should be held.

(RFE/RL Kazakh Service)