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Kazakh President Sets Date For Early Presidential Election

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has announced that an early presidential election will be held on April 26.

Nazarbaev said in a nationwide television address on February 25 that he made the decision "in order to avoid an overlap of presidential and parliamentary elections, both of which are scheduled for 2016, which is unconstitutional."

Nazarbaev, who has led Kazakhstan since 1989, added that after taking into account "our people's interests and their request to me," he had decided to sign a decree on holding the early election.

The presidential election had been scheduled for 2016.

The Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, a constitutional body chaired by Nazarbaev, had proposed on February 14 that the vote be held this year.

The assembly said an early election was needed to "ensure the continuity of the current policy" and to strengthen the economy.

It added that Nazarbaev, 74, needs another term to steer Kazakhstan through the ongoing economic crisis.

Kazakhstan's upper and lower houses approved the initiative last week.

Based on reporting by and Reuters