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OSCE: Kazakh Vote Falls Short Of Democratic Standards

A Kazakh policeman votes during parliamentary elections in Baikonur on March 20.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) say Kazakhstan's parliamentary elections have fallen short of its own commitments for democratic elections.

"Kazakhstan still has a long way to go towards fulfilling its election commitments, although some progress was noted," Marietta Tidei, the OSCE special coordinator for election observation, said on March 21.

Kazakhstan's election authorities say President Nursultan Nazarbaev's Nur Otan party won 82.15 percent of the vote in the March 20 vote.

According to preliminary results, two other parties allied with Nazarbaev passed the 7 percent threshold needed to win seats in the 107-seat Mazhilis, the lower house of parliament.

That means that the legislature will include the same three parties as before.

None of the elections held in Kazakhstan since its independence from the Soviet Union in December 1991 have ever been deemed as free or fair by Western countries or international observers.

Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax