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President Nazarbaev's term expires in January
19 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakhstan's constitutional court today decided the former Soviet republic should hold a presidential election in December.
Parliament must still confirm the Constitutional Council's decision that the poll should be held on 4 December.
The opposition had lobbied for the vote to take place before the end of this year, while a number of Kazakh officials had wanted it to be postponed by a year.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev has ruled the vast, sparsely populated, oil-rich country since 1989, and his current term expires in January.
In a meeting last month in Brussels, the European Union expressed concern to Kazakh officials with the country's election laws. EU representatives said they will consider the conduct of the pending presidential election as an important test of Kazakhstan's commitment to democratic reforms.
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