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OSCE: Kazakh Election 'Fell Short' of International Standards - 2004-09-20

Pro-presidential parties won an overwhelming majority in Sunday's parliamentary election in Kazakhstan. International observers have criticized the poll, saying it failed to meet international standards.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says Sunday's election for the lower house "fell short of ... international standards for democratic elections."

It says that a considerable amount of pressure was placed on voters. The OSCE also criticized what it says was media bias and the decision to prevent two opposition leaders from running.

Kazakhstan's information minister, Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly, resigned in protest at what he said was a rigged poll. He was the only member of the Kazakhstan government affiliated with the opposition. The vote was seen as a test of the country's ability to match its rapid economic growth with political freedoms.