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Nazarbaev, Little-Known Candidates To Run For Kazakh President

Kazakhstan's Central Elections Commission says incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbaev and two other others have been officially registered as candidates for the April 26 presidential election.

The commission said in a March 25 statement that official registration is over and Nazarbaev, who was nominated by the ruling Nur Otan party, will take part in the election along with Turghyn Syzydyqov of the Kazakh Communist People's Party and Abdelghazy Husainov, the head of the Federation of Kazakh Unions.

Neither of Nazarbaev's opponents are well-known in Kazakhstan.

The three are eligible to campaign between March 26 and April 24.

The next Kazakh presidential election was scheduled for 2016, but an assembly chaired by Nazarbaev proposed that it be held earlier and parliament -- which is dominated by Nazarbaev's Nur Otan party -- confirmed the change last month.

Nazarbaev, 74, has run the energy rich Central Asian nation since 1989.

He has clamped down on dissent, free speech and media in Kazakhstan and the country has never held an election judged to be free or fair by the West.

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