Updated on April 25, 2014 2:14PM (AST)
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Kazakh politicians invite the public to extend term of President Nazarbayev until 2020

Kazakhstan's politicians and cultural elite invite Kazakhstan's public to extend the term of the first President Nursultan Nazarbayev until 2020.

"On December 10, we obtained permit from the Ust-Kamenogorsk authorities to hold a meeting to form a group that will organize a referendum to extend the term of the first president, leader of the nation, until December 6, 2020," said head of the Semipalatinsk State University Erlan Sydykov at the meeting on December 23.

Members of Kazakhstan's parliament and regional representative authorities as well as Kazakhstan's cultural elite, a total of 850 people from 16 regions of Kazakhstan gathered at the meeting in Ust-Kamenogorsk (East Kazakhstan region) to discuss the referendum proposal.

Olzhas Suleimenov, the former leader of the "Nevada-Semey" popular anti-nuclear movement and currently Kazakhstan's Ambassador to UNESCO backed the idea of the referendum to extend the tern of the incumbent president.

"The presidential elections are scheduled for 2012, but I think we have no need to waste those two years on elections. Kazakhstan is now on the rise and it would be unwise to divert the presidential team and the president from addressing the pressing issues faced by Kazakhstan. The referendum can help to save efforts and resources, moreover everyone knows the outcome of the elections beforehand. It's not worth it to waste hundreds of millions on the election campaign," said Suleimenov.

"We will certainly be rebuked (for the referendum initiative - "IF-K") by the OSCE, for instance, but I will vote "yes" in this referendum," he stressed.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, 70 years old, was first elected president of Kazakhstan, at that moment the Kazakh Social Soviet Republic, which was part of the USSR, 20 year ago on April 24, 1990.

Since then Nursultan Nazarbayev has been elected president of the independent Kazakhstan a few times through direct elections - in 1991, 1999, 2005. In 1995 his term as president of Kazakhstan was extended by the national referendum.

The current presidential term of Nursultan Nazarbayev expires in 2012.

In 2007 the parliament amended the law to allow Nursultan Nazarbayev to run for president an unlimited number of times.

Today the presidential term is 7 years which will be reduced to five years starting 2012.



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