Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev today asked the country's Constitutional Council to examine a proposed referendum that would prolong his rule to 2020.
Last week, parliament unanimously approved the proposed referendum, which would allow Nazarbaev to bypass elections in which his rule could potentially be challenged.
Analysts say Nazarbaev's latest move is an attempt by the president to officially distance himself from the plan, which has been criticized by both the United States and the European Union as a setback for democracy.
The 70-year-old Nazarbaev has ruled Kazakhstan for more than 20 years.
The Constitutional Council is made up entirely of presidential and parliamentary appointees and is itself headed by the president.
compiled from agency reports