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Kazakh President Passes Language Test To Qualify For Election

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
ASTANA -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev passed the mandatory Kazakh-language test today to qualify for the upcoming presidential election, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Myrzatai Zholdasbekov, the chairman of the linguistic test commission, said in Astana that Nazarbaev passed the test but did not give further details. Nazarbaev has now been officially registered by the Central Election Commission (OSK) as a candidate for the April 3 election.

Kazakhstan's ruling Nur-Otan party officially proposed Nazarbaev as its candidate on February 11.

Kazakh law states that every presidential candidate has to take the language test in order to qualify as a presidential candidate.

On February 8, the linguistic commission ruled that opposition politician and former parliament deputy Ualikhan Qaisarov had made too many mistakes on his Kazakh-language test and could not stand as a candidate.

But Qaisarov called the commission's decision politically motivated and appealed the test's results to the Supreme Court. He has reapplied to be a candidate.

OSK officials said on February 8 that all rulings made by the linguistic commission are final and cannot be appealed.

Qaisarov told RFE/RL on February 10 that the linguistic commission "forged 28 spelling and stylistic mistakes" in the written part of his test.

On February 9, little-known environmental activist Musaghali Duambekov become the first Kazakh presidential hopeful to pass the language test.

Duambekov, who is said to be a close associate of President Nursultan Nazarbaev's nephew, Qairat Satybaldy, told journalists after the test that he does not expect to win in the presidential election, adding that he fully supports Nazarbaev and his policies.

A controversial decree to hold the early presidential election on April 3 was signed by Nazarbaev last week.

Some opposition groups are urging people to boycott it, saying it is illegal. Kazakh opposition parties and activists say they do not have enough time to prepare for the polls.

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