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Pro-Government Parties in Kazakhstan Lead Parliamentary Polls - 2004-09-23

Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission says pro-government parties loyal to President Nursultan Nazarbayev have won a majority of the seats in the lower house of parliament, in voting on Sunday. The commission has announced that a second round of voting will be held in early October for 22 seats still in contention.

The head of Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission Zagipa Baliyeva told reporters in the capital, Astana, Thursday that President Nazarbayev's Fatherland party has won 33 seats in the 77-seat assembly.

Three other pro-government parties, including one led by President's Nazarbayev's daughter, also won seats in the parliament based on nationwide voting for party lists, giving the president control of more than 40 votes.

These are the first official results, following news reports based on voter surveys that indicated a huge victory for the president's supporters.

In parallel voting for parliament seats based on local constituencies, the election commission says the opposition Bright Path Party is showing very good gains. But party officials are already contesting the first-round results, saying the election was riddled with fraud.

It is an assessment shared by foreign observers, who have said the voting fell "far short of international standards."