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Kazakh Party Proposes Presidency-For-Life For Nazarbaev

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev - president for life?
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev - president for life?
ASTANA -- Kazakhstan's Presidential Nur-Otan party is proposing legislation that would allow Nursultan Nazarbaev to remain president for life, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Nur-Otan First Deputy Chairman Darkhan Kaletaev told journalists that his party is initiating "a project on defining the status of the country's leader."

Kaletaev said the law might include granting a lifetime presidential term for Nazarbaev, who in July marked his 20th year as the leader of Kazakhstan.

Nur-Otan is officially headed by Nazarbaev and the party holds all 77 seats in parliament's lower chamber, the Mazhilis.

Zakratdin Baidosov, a professor in the northwestern city of Aqtobe, allegedly proposed that Nazarbaev be named president-for-life during a recent visit there.

In 2007, the Kazakh parliament adopted an amendment to the constitution extending the presidential term to seven years and lifting the limit on the number of terms that Nazarbaev could serve.

The next presidential election in Kazakhstan is scheduled for 2012.

Kazakhstan will take over the leadership of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in January.