Kazakhstan bans communist opposition party ahead of election

Kazakhstan bans communist opposition party ahead of election

A Kazakhstan court on Wednesday placed a temporary ban on the opposition Communist Party, removing the ruling government's most powerful competitor from running ahead of long-awaited parliamentary elections, DPA reported.

The Wednesday decision came in the wake of a July announcement by Aldamzharov and other Communist party officials that they would cooperate with two unregistered political action groups opposing the rule of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Judges sitting at a high administrative court in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty ruled leading members of the country's Communist Party had "participated in actions beyond allowed mandate," and ordered a six month ban on party activity effective immediately, the Interfax news agency reported.

"We will appeal this ruling," said Gaziz Aldamzharov, Communist Party of Kazakhstan leader, in an interview with the newspaper Vremya. "But honestly, I think it will be useless. We won't be able to participate in (upcoming) elections."

The court also levied a 1,500 dollar fine against Aldamzharov personally, the report said.

Kazakhstan's ruling Nur Otan party, which Nazrbayev heads, holds 98 of 107 seats in the lower house of parliament. Nazarbayev has been Kazakhstan's sole president since the Central Asian nation became independent in 1990.

The country by constitutional statute must hold parliamentary elections during 2012. A precise date for new elections has not been set.

Kazakhstan's last election was in 2007. Six parties participated in that vote but only Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party was able to overcome a 7 per cent support barrier needed to place representatives in the legislature.

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