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Kazakh Opposition Party Says It Will Not Participate In Presidential Vote


Bolat Abilov
Bolat Abilov
ALMATY -- The Kazakh opposition party Azat says it intends to boycott the country's early presidential polls in April, which long-standing leader Nursultan Nazarbaev is all but certain to win.

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports that members of the Azat Social Democratic Party today selected the party's co-chairman, Bulat Abilov, to serve as their candidate in the first presidential elections held after the April 3 vote.

Abilov said there was not sufficient time before April to stage an effective opposition campaign.

Nazarbaev earlier this month issued the decree on early elections after unexpectedly rejecting a plan to hold a referendum on extending his term through 2020.

The 70-year-old Nazarbaev, who has held his post since 1990, can run for an unlimited number of terms.