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Kazakh President Suggests Staying In Power Until 2030

President Nursultan Nazarbaev
President Nursultan Nazarbaev
ASTANA -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said today at the Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan that he wants to remain in power until 2030, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Nazarbaev, 70, said the outcome of the April 3 presidential election "became the triumph of our unity," to which the assembly had also contributed.

Nazarbaev said the assembly -- which is convened annually -- said at a session in the 1990s that he should remain in power until 2030. "We still have time [to make it true]," he said.

Nazarbaev also criticized some Kazakh officials for pressurizing non-Kazakh speakers into learning the language and using it on a daily basis. He said pensioners who do not speak Kazakh come to newly built clinics where all the signs are in Kazakh and they have no idea where to go.

Russian is Kazakhstan's official language, while Kazakh is the state language. In most towns and big cities, Russian is the predominant language.

Nazarbaev said the activities of all religious sects should be strictly monitored.

"Our traditional unity of Muslims and Orthodox Christians is the main religious unity. Other sects whose values are different from those we need should be not allowed to enter Kazakhstan," Nazarbaev added.

Nazarbaev has been Kazakhstan's national leader for more than 20 years. He was reelected for a further five-year presidential term on April 3.

The Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan consists of the leaders and representatives of over 120 ethnic groups. Nazarbaev has made use of it in the past to initiate and implement laws and other initiatives.

Today's assembly session was held under the slogan "Kazakhstan: 20 Years of Peace and Concord."

Read more in Russian here