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    KAZAKHSTAN WILL NOT ALLOW THE FORMATION OF EXTREMIST PARTIES, NAZARBAYEV SAYS

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    ASTANA, March 12 (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan will not allow the formation of nationalist or religiously-based parties, said President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Friday at the congress of the Otan party (from the Arabic "Watan," or Motherland).

    "The state must strictly follow the requirements of the current constitution, and it will put up a rigid barrier to parties based on nationalist or religious ideology," Mr. Nazarbayev said.

    "The state's position on this issue is definite, and there must not be any waivering on this point," he stressed.

    According to him, "the existence of opposition parties in present-day Kazakhstan is a sign of the community's healthy development."

    "Opposition is an absolutely necessary element of any political system in which democratic development is supposed," he noted.

    The president said that political opposition and political radicalism are not the same.

    The political radicalism in Kazakhstan is losing its "social base," the president said.

    He said that it is "not only because of the rise in living standards but also because of the emergence of serious political groups that believe perfecting the existing political system is much more important than changing it radically."

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