Turkistan, Kazakhstan; 19 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Dariga Nazarbaeva, the eldest daughter of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev (pictured) announced she is turning the social movement she leads into a political party. Nazarbaeva made the announcement yesterday during a visit to the ancient Silk Route city of Turkistan, in southern Kazakhstan.
"In creating a new political party I have not set the goal of defending my father, President Nazarbaev, from the attacks of his opponents. He simply does not need such help."
Nazarbaeva is currently the head of the state-owned Khabar news agency in what is seen by some international media watchdogs as a prime example of nepotism within the Kazakh government.
Kazakhstan is holding elections for city, district, and provincial councils today.
Kazakhstan's opposition is running candidates in the elections but have complained of unfair practices during the campaign leading up to today's vote.
Those elected to the 14 provincial councils will have to select two people from their province to serve in the Senate.
City council officials are also responsible for naming people to the local election commissions that will oversee next year's parliamentary elections and the presidential election in 2006.
More than 7,000 people are running in these elections. These are the last elections to be held under Kazakhstan's current election laws.
After numerous complaints from the international organizations, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Kazakhstan is set to approve new election laws that more closely conform with those of the European Union.