OSCE raps Kazakh election, presses for reforms

ASTANA, April 4 Mon Apr 4, 2011 4:08am EDT

ASTANA, April 4 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's presidential election revealed the same shortcomings as past polls, Europe's main monitoring body said on Monday, urging Astana to introduce democratic reforms before future parliamentary elections.

"International observers ...noted that reforms necessary for holding genuine democratic elections have yet to materialize," the OSCE said in a statement on the elections in which veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev won Sunday's early presidential election with an overwhelming 95.5 percent of votes.

"Regrettably we have to conclude that this election could and should have been better," Ambassador Daan Everts, Head of the long-term election observation mission deployed by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), told a news briefing in the Kazakh capital.

"It showed the urgency of implementing the long-awaited reforms ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections." (Reporting by Robin Paxton; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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