25 December 2001
THREE KAZAKH OPPOSITION PARTIES MERGE
Leaders and activists of Kazakhstan's three major opposition parties -- Azamat, the People's Congress of Kazakhstan and the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan -- announced at a press conference in Almaty on 25 December in the presence of police and staff from the general prosecutor's office their decision to unite in a single political party, Ermurat Bapi, who is chief editor of the newspaper "SolDat," told RFE/RL the same day on December 25.
The new coalition party is named the United Democratic Party of Kazakhstan, and its main priority is to establish a true parliamentary system in the country. For the time being the party will be led by an Interim Political Council whose members include Gulzhan Ergaliyeva of the People's Congress of Kazakhstan, Amirzhan Qosanov of the Republican People's Party, Petr Svoik of Azamat and others. Republican People's Party chairman Akezhan Kazhegeldin was also named a member of the Council.
The decision to create such a coalition party was made earlier in December at a special gathering of the leaders of the three parties held in Washington D.C. on the eve of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev's visit to the U.S. capital.