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Kazakh Party Demands Probe Into Reported Election Violations

Supporters welcome Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev as he arrives for a celebration rally at a sports center in Astana on April 4.
ALMATY -- Kazakhstan's opposition Azat (Free) Social Democratic Party has demanded an investigation into reported electoral-law violations during the April 3 presidential election, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbaev, 70, was declared the overwhelming winner with some 95 percent of the vote.

Azat said the election was illegal and boycotted it.

Nazarbaev, who has ruled the country for more than 20 years, called the snap election earlier this year -- nearly two years before the scheduled election in December 2012.

Many other opposition parties and movements boycotted the election, saying it was being used by Nazarbaev to illegally prolong his stay in office.

In a statement issued today, Azat Party leaders said Nazarbaev used all his administrative resources to "force people to come to the polls."

It added that there were reports of ballot stuffing at some polling stations, and that so-called "carousel" activities -- when the same people are bussed to different polling stations -- were also reported to have taken place.

Azat leaders also complained in the statement that none of their representatives were allowed to take part in the election commissions' work and that pro-Nazarbaev groups continued campaigning for the president the day of the election. They added that election observers' rights were violated.

Azat leaders wrote that each reported violation should be thoroughly investigated and those responsible for misdeeds be held accountable.

International election-monitoring groups, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, reported numerous irregularities during the election and said it did not reach international standards.

The Central Election Commission announced today that the inauguration of Nazarbaev would be held on April 8.

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