Kazakhstan, Astana, Jan. 8 / Trend A.Maratov /
The proposal by Kazakh citizens and government officials to hold a national referendum to extend the term of President Nursultan Nazarbayev until 2020 has serious international implications, particularly in relation to Kazakhstan's successful chairmanship in the OSCE in 2010 and President Nazarbayev's personal role in adoption of the final declaration, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan reported.
"With all due respect, we would encourage all those who may have special or personal interest in the referendum issue not to take any short-term measures that would violate the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan and, more importantly, would undermine the historical legacy of President Nazarbayev, the statement reads.
Presidential elections in Kazakhstan are scheduled for 2012, but they can be replaced by a referendum. The only candidate is the current president,
Nazarbayev, who is supported by about 90 percent of the citizens.
Kazakhstan has already experienced hosting a referendum to extend the incumbent president's powers, with the 1995 referendum extending Nazarbayev's powers until 1999. The 70-year-old Kazakh president, Nazarbayev, has been in power for over 20 years.
However, Nazarbayev rejected the proposal of the country's Parliament on submission of the amendments to the Constitution to hold the national referendum on Friday.
"We are grateful that the Kazakh President has played its role as a statesman and as a defender of the Constitution and clearly expressed his views to anyone, who respects him as the leader of the nation, and who also believes in the sanctity of the Constitution of the Kazakh people," the statement reads. "However, we understand that there is a possibility that the Kazakh Parliament may bypass the President's veto, if he can collect 80 percent of the vote."
According to the Kazakh Constitution, the president has the right to reject the proposal to hold a referendum, but parliament can override the veto with majority vote in both houses of the parliament.
"The American Embassy did not want - and can not! interfere in the internal affairs of Kazakhstan," the statement reads, stressing that the Helsinki agreement led the Kazakh people to the independence.
The United States in its message welcomed Kazakhstan's commitment to "Ways to Europe."
"Kazakhstan has become the first former Soviet state to lead the OSCE. Kazakhstan is a moderate Muslim country with a predominant majority of Muslims, which has just became chairman of the Organization of Islamic Conference [...] and we strongly support it," the statement reads.