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Nazarbaev Says Presidency-For-Life Defined By Kazakh Constitution

Nursultan Nazarbaev
Nursultan Nazarbaev
ASTANA -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has said that the issue of him being granted the presidency-for-life has already been determined by Kazakhstan's Constitution, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Nazarbaev told journalists after talks with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the Kazakh capital on October 6 that according to the constitution the first president of Kazakhstan has the right to be elected president an unlimited number of times, making it unnecessary for him to be granted the lifetime post because he could presumably continue winning elections.

The idea of making Nazarbaev president for life has been discussed extensively in Kazakhstan in recent weeks after it was reportedly suggested to him by a professor while on a trip in western Kazakhstan.

Nazarbaev has been president of Kazakhstan since the country gained independence in 1991. He was last reelected to a seven-year term on December 4, 2005 in an election that was deemed by international observers to be neither free nor fair.

Kazakhstan will assume the chairmanship of the Organization for Cooperation and Security (OSCE) in Europe on January 1.