Astana, 26 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakhstan's lower house of parliament, the Mazhilis, today approved a revised bill tightening restrictions on political parties. The bill has been sent to President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who is expected to sign it.
The upper house, the Senate, passed the bill yesterday after making revisions in response to opposition criticism. The revised legislation does not contain a previous clause that called for a party to be dissolved if it wins less than 3 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections.
But the bill retains a controversial requirement that parties must have at least 50,000 members to be registered. Only three currently registered parties have the required number of members.
Opposition lawmaker Valerian Zemlyanov said yesterday the bill will drive political parties underground and spark political discord. He accused the government of trying to create a one-party dictatorship.
For more on this story, please see Kazakhstan: Opposition Parties See Draft Bill As Possible Death Sentence