President Nursultan Nazarbaev has asked Kazakhstan's Constitutional Council to provide an official interpretation of an article of the country's constitution that deals with the termination of the president's duties.
The council said in a statement on February 4 that it had started working on the matter following the president’s request to look into Article 42, Section 3 of the Kazakh Constitution.
According to the relevant article of the constitution, the powers of the current Kazakh president shall terminate as of "the moment the newly elected President of the Republic takes office" as well as in the event of the current president's "release from office, resignation or death."
"All former Presidents of the Republic except those who were discharged from office shall have the title of ex-President of the Republic of Kazakhstan," it adds.
Nazarbaev, 78, has been in power in the energy-rich Kazakhstan since before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
He was last elected in 2015, securing a new five-year term after moving the vote up from 2016 in what was widely seen as a move to strengthen his control.
Rights activists and critics say he has persistently suppressed dissent, prolonged his time in office through undemocratic votes, and used the levers of power to neutralize potential opponents.
Kazakhstan's next presidential election is set for December 2020, and Nazarbaev told reporters late last year that there were no plans for early polls.