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Kazakh Lawmaker Proposes Renaming Capital To Honor President Nazarbaev

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has ruled the country since it gained independence in 1991.

A parliamentary deputy in Kazakhstan has proposed that the country's capital, Astana, should be renamed to honor longtime President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

The suggestion was proposed on November 23 at a joint session of parliament by Quanysh Sultanov, a deputy in the Mazhilis, the assembly's lower chamber.

Sultanov said Astana could be renamed either as Nursultan or as Nazarbaev.

Information Minister Dauren Abaev said any final decision on renaming Astana would be made by Nazarbaev himself, but could require a constitutional amendment.

Mazhilis deputy Vladislav Kosarev said that, if Nazarbaev agrees to the name change, an ad hoc commission would be formed to study the issue.

The 76-year-old Nazarbaev was Kazakhstan's last Soviet-era leader and has continued to rule the country since it declared independence in 1991.

Exempted from laws that limit presidential terms, he was last elected in April 2015 with 98 percent of the vote.

In 2010, Nazarbaev was bestowed by lawmakers with the title Leader of the Nation.

Kazakhstan's government moved the capital from the country’s largest city, Almaty, to Astana in 1997.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS
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