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Campaign-Violations Charges Fly in Run-Up to Kazakh Elections

The moderate opposition party Ak Zhol has sent an appeal to President Nazarbaev charging that state-run television is favoring specific candidates in the run-up to the 19 September parliamentary elections, Kazakh television reported on 8 September.

Meanwhile, the election bloc of Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan and the Communist Party of Kazakhstan held a small unauthorized rally in Almaty on 8 September to protest violations of campaign-spending limits by the pro-presidential Asar party, Channel 31 reported.

Two bloc candidates and 40 supporters charged that Asar has spent $700,000 more on political advertising than is allowed.

Demonstrators handed a letter of protest to Khabar TV employees.

Finally, the president's daughter, Darigha Nazarbaeva, who heads Asar and is director of Khabar news agency (a post she has left for the duration of elections), said that local administrations and business directors are pressuring people to vote for the pro-presidential Otan party, Khabar TV reported on 7 September.

Nazarbaeva said that the "pressure, bullying, and blackmail" discredits the party's reputation.

(RFE/RL 09.ix.04)

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