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Kazakh Election Body Registers Opposition Party's List Of Candidates

Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission has registered the list of candidates of the opposition Nationwide Social-Democratic Party (NSDP) to run in upcoming parliamentary elections.

The NSDP, Kazakhstan's only genuine opposition party participating in the March 20 early vote, will race against President Nursultan Nazarbaev's Nur Otan party and several other pro-presidential parties.

Nazarbaev, who has ruled Kazakhstan since 1989, dissolved the lower house of parliament, the Mazhilis, on January 20, and called early elections.

Kazakhstan has never held an election judged free and fair by Western observers and there is little doubt that Nur Otan will retain its control over parliament -- where there has been no opposition for years.

Nur Otan’s candidates include Nazarbaev's eldest daughter, Darigha Nazarbaeva, who is currently deputy prime minister, as well as several pop singers and sports celebrities.

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