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Kazakhstan: OSCE Criticizes New Law On Political Parties

Almaty, 27 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe expressed concern today about a new Kazakh law on political parties, saying it could jeopardize political pluralism. The new law, which was passed by both houses of Kazakhstan's parliament this week, raises the minimum party membership needed for registration from 3,000 to 50,000 -- a condition that the OSCE said only pro-government parties can meet.

The OSCE said in a statement the new law will have grave consequences for political pluralism in Kazakhstan and could practically mean the abolition of political parties.

President Nursultan Nazarbaev is expected to sign the bill. Once it comes into force, all existing political parties will have to reregister in line with the new rules.