Kazakhstan reverses ban on right-hand drive cars

Kazakhstan’s government will not carry out a proposed ban on right-hand drive cars, it said on Monday, reversing a policy that led to street protests last year as many Kazakhs drive used cars imported from Japan.

Kazakhstan reverses ban on right-hand drive cars
Kazakhstan’s government will not carry out a proposed ban on right-hand drive cars, it said on Monday, reversing a policy that led to street protests last year as many Kazakhs drive used cars imported from Japan.

Announcing a decision taken weeks before a parliamentary election, Interior Ministry spokesman Bagdat Kozhakhmetov said it was enough merely to ban future imports of right-hand drive cars and not the use of existing vehicles.

‘After the introduction of a ban on imports of vehicles of this category the authorities have succeeded in easing their negative impact on traffic safety,’ Kozhakhmetov told reporters.

The government believes right-hand drive cars, designed for Japan where traffic is on the left, cause too many road accidents. It had been due to forbid their use in two or three years.

Even though most Kazakhs drive cars with steering wheels on the left, many drivers took to the streets in the commercial capital Almaty last November and scuffled with police in an outcry against the government decision to impose the ban.

Protests are rare in the tightly run Central Asian state, which is to hold a parliamentary election on Aug. 18. The former Soviet nation has never held a vote that was judged free and fair by international monitors.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Temmuz 2007, 15:35
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