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Pop Stars Urge Young People To 'Vote For Kazakhstan'

Some of Kazakhstan's hottest pop idols have recorded a song urging young people to go to the polls on April 3 and "vote for Kazakhstan," RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Singers and musicians Nurzhan Kermenbaev, Medeu Arynbaev, Bayan Esentaeva, Asha Matai, and Murat Qozha told journalists at a press conference in Almaty today that all citizens of Kazakhstan, especially young people, should participate in the early presidential elections "to show how they care about their motherland."

A video clip featuring the song has already been posted.

"Vote for Kazakhstan! Vote for everything that is dear to us all!" the stars croon in Kazakh and Russian, adding:

"You choose the right to live in a bright world.
Do not be aloof; it is you who decides your country's fate....
Your motherland's tomorrow is in your hands.
Don't be timid on the path of your life.
Shine like a flame, like the star of your country's independence.
If our unity is really strong, our star will be really high
And may our wings take us as far as we want!"

The singers stressed to reporters that they organized the campaign voluntarily.

They also said that calls by opposition groups to boycott the elections are "inconceivable and have no future."

Incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbaev, 70, has been in power for more than 20 years. Last month, he scheduled an early presidential election almost two years before it is due.

Opposition parties complain the surprise announcement won't allow them enough time to prepare properly for the ballot. As a result, they've urged voters to boycott the voting in order to prevent "the illegal prolongation of President Nursultan Nazarbaev's term in office."

Nazarbaev, who faces three challengers, is all but certain to win reelection.

-- RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

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