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Kazakh Opposition Leader Praises Kyrgyz President

Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the opposition party Algha, talks to the press in Almaty.
ALMATY -- The leader of the unregistered Kazakh opposition party Algha (Forward) has praised the role played by Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva in ensuring her country's recent parliamentary elections were free and fair, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Algha leader Vladimir Kozlov was speaking on November 15 at a roundtable convened by opposition parties in Almaty titled "Interim Presidency -- From A Presidential to A Parliamentary Republic."

Kozlov said he considered the holding of free and fair parliamentary elections on October 10 the most important aspect of recent political developments in Kyrgyzstan. Such elections had never occurred in Kazakhstan, he said.

He said the political process in Kyrgyzstan was "worthy of emulation."

Kozlov also contrasted developments over the past two decades in Poland and Kazakhstan. He attributed Poland's evolution into a functioning democracy to the fact that it chose a parliamentary, not a presidential, form of government.

Kozlov announced last month that he planned to be a candidate in the Kazakh presidential election scheduled for 2012.

Several participants at the roundtable criticized Kozlov's stated ambition to become "an interim president."

Theater director Bolat Atabaev warned that Kozlov's stated aim of becoming "interim president" would scare off voters, while journalist Sergei Duvanov argued that "interim presidents aren't elected, they take power after a revolution, an uprising, or a leader's untimely death."

Read more in Russian here