Kazakhstan's ruling party proposes new term for veteran leader

2015-03-11 11:40
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. (File: AP)

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. (File: AP) ((Andy Wong, AP))

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Almaty - The ruling party of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed on Wednesday to appoint him as its candidate to run for another five-year term in a snap election on 26 April, a live television broadcast from the party's congress showed.

"We propose to officially appoint Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev as Nur Otan party's candidate and ask him to give his consent," Kazakh scientist Kenzegali Sagadieyv told the congress which is being being held in the capital Astana.

The voting for the candidature is expected shortly.

Nazarbayev, a 74-year-old former steelworker, has run his oil-rich Central Asian nation without interruption since 1989 when he headed the local Communist Party.

Nazarbayev, a member of the Soviet Communist Party's decision-making Politburo, was elected with almost 96% of votes in 2011. His current term ends only in late 2016.

Nazarbayev has clamped down on dissent in his oil-rich nation of 17 million, and Kazakhstan has never held an election judged to be free or fair by the West. But he has also overseen market reforms and attracted $170bn in foreign direct investment.

The idea to hold a snap election was first aired on 14 February by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, a constitutional body led by Nazarbayev, and authorities described it as an "expression of the people's will".

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