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Kazakhstan's Ruling Party Backs Early Presidential Election

ASTANA -- Kazakhstan's ruling Nur-Otan party has backed a proposal by the Kazakhstan People's Assembly to hold an early presidential election.

Nur-Otan stated on February 16 that it fully supports the assembly's initiative.

The Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, chaired by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, said on February 14 an early election is crucial to "ensure the continuity of the current policy" and to strengthen the economy.

The next election is scheduled for 2016, but the assembly proposed it be held this year.

The assembly also said Nazarbaev needs another term to steer Kazakhstan through the ongoing economic crisis.

Nazarbaev was not present at the assembly's February 14 session.

Nazarbaev, 74, has ruled the oil-rich country since 1989.

The last 2011 presidential poll in Kazakhstan was also held a year before it had been scheduled.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."