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Kazakh authorities formally register new opposition party

Kazakh authorities formally register new opposition party

A political party headed by a former Kazakh parliament speaker turned opposition leader said on Thursday it had been formally registered by the Justice Ministry.
Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, a losing challenger to long-ruling President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2005 elections, set up his National Social Democratic Party last year.
Tuyakbai resigned as parliament speaker in 2004, protesting alleged widespread irregularities during parliamentary elections that produced a legislature without a single opposition member.
Tuyakbai won less than 7 percent of the vote against Nazarbayev's 91 percent, according to official results, in December 2005 elections that western observers said were flawed.
Nazarbayev has ruled the oil-rich Central Asian nation of 15 million people since before the 1991 Soviet collapse, and has resisted democratic reform. However, he is credited with making Kazakhstan one of the leading former Soviet economies due to successful market reforms and attracting foreign investment to develop its Caspian Sea oil resources.