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Kazakh ruling party wins 88.41% of vote - final results

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The final results of Saturday's parliamentary election in Kazakhstan showed Wednesday that President Nursultan Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party won 88.41% of the votes, with all other parties falling short of the 7% vote share required to enter the Mazhilis.
ASTANA, August 22 (RIA Novosti) - The final results of Saturday's parliamentary election in Kazakhstan showed Wednesday that President Nursultan Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party won 88.41% of the votes, with all other parties falling short of the 7% vote share required to enter the Mazhilis.

Election monitors from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a Russia-dominated alliance of former Soviet republics, declared the elections free and fair, while opposition parties called the results rigged.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OECD) said the results were flawed, but nevertheless called the elections a positive step toward developing democracy in the ex-Soviet state.

President Nazarbayev, addressing a national organization representing the Central Asian country's various ethnic groups Monday, said: "There are winners and losers in all elections, but in the current situation I believe that all of Kazakhstan's citizens have won. The choice of Kazakh residents has confirmed the appropriateness of the policy towards prosperity and peace, which Kazakhstan is conducting."

In June, Nazarbayev dissolved parliament and called an election two years ahead of schedule in line with constitutional amendments he had proposed in May, and as part of a drive to improve Kazakhstan's image abroad as a democratic nation.

He said the election would result in a more powerful parliament. For the first time, the Mazhilis will have a say in the nomination of a prime minister and other government officials.

However, critics have pointed out that the constitutional changes which prompted Saturday's polling will also expand Nazarbayev's own power by removing restrictions on the number of terms the president can serve.

Despite criticism of his autocratic style of leadership, the president remains popular in his home country, which has seen strong oil-driven economic growth in recent years.

More than 1,000 foreign observers monitored polling stations throughout the country.

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