Kazakh parliament approves early election amendment

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Astana, Feb 3 (Itar-Tass) The Kazakh parliament hasapproved an amendment to the Constitution which enables thehead of the state to announce early elections.

Deputy head of the presidential administration TalgatDanakov said yesterday that the proposed amendment to theConstitution will secure constitutionality of earlypresidential polls.

Member of the lower house committee on legislation andlegal and judicial reform Irak Elekeyev said the parliamentwould review the amendments to and changes of theConstitutional law on election in the Republic of Kazakhstanand on the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan at today''ssession.

He also reminded that the country''s Constitution doesnot limit the term of powers for the republic''s firstPresident Nazarbayev but noted, "After the parliament approvesthe amendments and the president signs it, Nazarbayev will beable to announce the date of the early election,".

Whereas the Fundamental Law only provides for twosuccessive terms in office for president, the Constitutionmade an exception for Nazarbayev whereby he has the right torun for the post of the president as many times as he likes.

Nazarbayev''s current term in office was 7 years but onhis initiative, it has been reduced to 5 years, to beeffective after the next presidential election, scheduled for2012.

But late last year, a group of citizens proposed tohold a referendum on extending the powers of the incumbenthead of state until 2020. More than five million signatureswere collected in support of the plebiscite.

The lawmakers amended the Constitution to allow such areferendum, as well as the extension of Nazarbayev''s tenure.

But the head of the state refused to sign the bill and sent itto the Constitutional Council for examination which termedthe amendments as being unconstitutional.

Nazarbayev refused the referendum and the scheduledelection, proposing an early election instead. (Itar-Tass)

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