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OSCE Mum On Kazakh President-For-Life Initiative

President Nursultan Nazarbaev
President Nursultan Nazarbaev
ASTANA -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Center in Kazakhstan has declined to comment on a legislative movement afoot to make Nursultan Nazarbaev the country's president-for-life, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The timing of the initiative by the rubber-stamp parliament is particularly embarrassing, as it comes just months before that Central Asian country assumes the chairmanship of the OSCE.

OSCE Center head Alexandre Keltchewsky told journalists that he wanted to withhold comment on the issue, adding that he hopes "the president will make the right decision" on the proposal.

On September 14, the presidential Nur-Otan party proposed initiating legislation that would allow Nazarbaev to remain president-for-life.

The proposal was criticized by opposition parties and supported by members of the parliament's lower chamber -- in which all seats are held by Nur-Otan -- and some senators.

The idea was allegedly proposed to the president by Zakratdin Baidosov, a professor in the northwestern city of Aqtobe, during a recent visit there by Nazarbaev.

In 2007, the Kazakh parliament adopted an amendment to the constitution extending the presidential term to seven years and lifting the two-term limit for heads of state.

The next presidential election in Kazakhstan is due to be held in 2012.

Kazakhstan is set to take over the leadership of the OSCE in January.