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Kazakhstan To Establish Council Of Elders

ASTANA -- The Kazakh government says it is planning to establish a Council of Elders, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Kazakh Culture Minister Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed told journalists on May 18 that the council will be created in accordance with the "National Unity Doctrine," the final version of which was approved by President Nursultan Nazarbaev on May 17.

Kul-Mukhammed did not specify what responsibilities and functions the new council would have or who would belong to it.

A Council of Elders has existed in Turkmenistan since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and plays the role of an alternative parliament.

In Kazakhstan, such a role is currently held by the Assembly of Kazakhstan's Peoples, where members of all the country's ethnic groups are represented.

Nazarbaev offered a draft of the "National Unity Doctrine" at the 15th session of the Assembly of Kazakhstan's Peoples in October.