Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev says that "there is no need" to change the name of the country's capital, Astana, after the Kazakh parliament proposed to rename the city after him.
Nazarbaev said in an interview published on November 25 that "everyone knows Astana. It's a brand, and therefore there is no need to change the capital's name."
On November 23, Kazakh lawmakers unanimously passed a declaration that suggested renaming "the capital and other important facilities across the country" after Nazarbaev.
The declaration marking the upcoming 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence pays tribute to Nazarbaev's "outstanding services" to the nation.
Nazarbaev, 76, has ruled the oil-rich Central Asian state since 1989. The country has no record of elections deemed democratic by Western observers.
In 2010, the Kazakh parliament bestowed the title of "elbasy," or leader of the nation, upon Nazarbaev, granting him and his family lifelong immunity from any civic or criminal prosecution.
While Nazarbaev formally opposed the bill, it automatically became law under a legal clause pertaining to the work of the legislature.