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”Day of Calm” sets in in Kazakhstan on eve of Sunday general elections

January 14, 2012, 9:07 UTC+3

According to changes made in legislation, at least two parties are to be represented in the lower chamber of parliament

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ASTANA, January 14 (Itar-Tass) — The Kazakh campaign on parliamentary elections to the lower chamber of the national parliament entered “the day of calm”. The ban on conducting any election publicity came into force last midnight.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave on Friday his assessment of the election race in his address to the nation. He emphasized that authorities “ensured observance of legality at all stages of the election campaign and granted an even access to the mass media to all political parties”.

The republican head noted that “all participants in the election process had broad possibilities to familiarize voters with their election platforms”. He is convinced that citizens had a chance to see during the campaign “who is who, viewing what our politicians speak about”.

Nazarbayev explained that people could appraise “what parties have specific platforms, aimed at the benefit of our people, and “what parties were engaged in speechifying, mud-slinging, showing thereby utter misunderstanding of the state of affairs, their isolation from actualities of life”.

“There were virtually no cases smearing opponents and ‘dirty technologies’ during the election campaign,” said head of the Kazakh Central Election Commission Kuandyk Turgankulov. The public council on information disputes also gave a positive appraisal to the advertising stage.

According to its chairman Marat Bashimov, “professionalism of the mass media and their objective coverage of activities of parties that participated in the race, increased many times as against previous election campaigns”.

Advertising activities in Internet also increased noticeably. It is one of main peculiar features of the past publicity campaign. True, any attempt at advertising in the world web will be a violation of law on “the day of calm”. This was announced on Friday by the Kazakh CEC. Incidentally, the warning spreads to such materials even in social networks and blogs.

“We shall follow violations with assistance from prosecutors’ offices. Naturally, such candidates may be punished,” said CEC deputy chairman Vladimir Foos.

Although the ban on advertising has the name of “the day of calm”, it covers, in actual fact, 48 hours: it ends only at midnight between January 15 and 16. The results of exit polls can be made public only after this time.

The ahead-of-time elections to the lower chamber will be held on January 15. Seven political parties participate in them: Nur Otan (Light of Homeland), led by Nazarbayev, the Democratic Party Ak Zhol (Bright Road), the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan, the Party of Kazakh Patriots, Adilet (Justice), Auyl (Aul) and the Public Social-Democratic Party (its list includes members of the party itself and another opposition party Azat – Freedom).

According to changes made in legislation, at least two parties are to be represented in the lower chamber of the Kazakh parliament.

Deputies to local bodies of self-government will be elected simultaneously with general elections in the republic.

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