Kazakhstan Moves To Lift Ban On Postelection Rallies

September 29, 2006 -- Kazakh lawmakers today approved in the first reading draft legal amendments that seek to lift a ban on postelection demonstrations.

The vote took place at a joint session of both chambers of Kazakhstan's parliament. A second reading of the draft is scheduled for November.

Under existing laws, street rallies are banned for the period extending between the closure of polling stations and the official publication of election results.

Addressing lawmakers today, Justice Minister Zagipa Balieva said the government had decided to withdraw the ban because it considers the risk of a "colored revolution"similar to Ukraine's Orange Revolution  in Kazakhstan to be over.

Balieva said lifting the ban would show that Kazakhstan is "on the path of democratization."

She also acknowledged that pressure from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) played a role in the government's decision.

Kazakhstan is seeking to chair the OSCE in 2009.

(Interfax-Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Today, Kazinform)