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Kazakh Constitutional Council Rejects Referendum To Extend Nazarbaev's Rule

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
Kazakhstan's Constitutional Council has rejected a planned referendum that would extend President Nursultan Nazarbaev's rule until 2020.

The Kazakh parliament earlier this month voted to hold a referendum on whether Nazabaev's rule should be extended for another decade.

Nazarbaev sent the measure for review to the Constitutional Council.

Igor Rogov, chairman of the Constitutional Council, today said the council ruled that "the law does not comply with the constitution."

Rogov said Nazarbaev could appeal the council decision within one month.

In his annual address to the nation on January 28, Nazarbaev said that the council would decide on the referendum.

He also said that he planned to stand for election in 2012.

The 70-year-old Nazarbaev has already ruled Kazakhstan for more than 20 years. Under a 2007 constitutional amendment, he can stand for election an unlimited number of times.

Kazakhstan has never held an election judged free and fair by international observers.

The referendum plan has been criticized by both the United States and the European Union as a setback for democracy.

compiled from agency reports