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Kazakh President Won't Sign Draft Law On Special Powers

The draft bill would have allowed President Nursultan Nazarbaev to retain presidential powers even if he stepped down.
Kazakh state television has broadcast a statement from President Nursultan Nazarbaev in which he says he will not sign a controversial draft law that would give him special powers for life.

Last month, the country's parliament drafted and quickly passed the bill on "Leader of the Nation" that would allow Nazarbaev to retain nearly all the powers he has as president even if he steps down from office.

The draft also guaranteed Nazarbaev immunity from investigation or prosecution and protected his property and property, as it said, "belonging to relatives living in his household" from confiscation.

In his statement, Nazarbaev referred to Kazakhstan's international obligations as a reason for not approving the draft law.

"As you know Kazakhstan now chairs the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and a number of other regional associations," the newscaster read from the statement. "We should value this trust and carry out this honorable mission effectively. In consideration of the above-mentioned factors, I (President Nazarbaev) am asking you, dear members of parliament, to understand my position correctly as I decline to sign this legislation."

Parliament briefly debated making Nazarbaev president-for-life in September but that gradually lost support.

Nazarbaev's latest statement said he was "grateful to Kazakhstan's citizens and MPs" for their support and efforts.

compiled from agency reports