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Referendum To Extend Kazakh President's Term Could Come In March 2011

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
Vladimir Redkokashin, the head of the Astana city council, has said an initiative group of well-known politicians and scholars have turned in a request to hold a national referendum to extend President Nursultan Nazarbaev's term in office until 2020.

Redkokashin said the group registered their request on December 24 to the Central Election Commission.

Redkokashin said he believed the election commission would take about one week to reach a decision and then, Redkokashin said, "the referendum is likely to be held in March 2011."

The commission said in a statement that it would consider the initiative group's request for a referendum at a December 27 session.

Nazarbaev has been president since Kazakhstan became independent in 1991.

He has been reelected twice and had his term extended through a referendum once.

The next presidential election is scheduled for 2012.

compiled from agency reports