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Kazakhstan: U.S. Expresses Concern About Parties Law

Washington, 19 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. government has expressed concern about a new law in Kazakhstan that makes it more difficult to register political parties. The legislation signed this week by President Nursultan Nazarbaev says any political party will need 50,000 members to register instead of the 3,000 required earlier.

Asked about the law at the State Department's daily press briefing yesterday, spokesman Richard Boucher said: "In Kazakhstan we are increasingly concerned about recent developments. We've seen restrictive legislation regarding political parties. There's been ongoing harassment of opposition figures and the independent media. These things pose a serious threat to the democratic process in Kazakhstan."

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has criticized the law, saying it could jeopardize political pluralism.