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Adviser: Decision on referendum on extending incumbent president's powers should be made as soon as possible

Politics Materials 31 January 2011 16:48
It is necessary to make a decision concerning the referendum on extending incumbent Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's powers as soon as possible, Adviser to the Kazakh President Yermukhamet Yertysbayev said.
Adviser: Decision on referendum on extending incumbent president's powers should be made as soon as possible

Kazakhstan, Astana, Jan. 31 / Trend A. Maratov /

It is necessary to make a decision concerning the referendum on extending incumbent Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's powers as soon as possible, Adviser to the Kazakh President Yermukhamet Yertysbayev said.

"As a politician, I would like the issue to be resolved rapidly because every day is significant now, especially in terms of the industrial innovation program and those enormous challenges set by the president for 2011 and the next decade. We must make a decision to hold a referendum or elections," he told Trend.

Earlier in the month, the Kazakh legislature voted unanimously in favor of amendments to the Constitution, authorizing a referendum to extend the rule of long-serving Nazarbayev until 2020, bypassing elections due in 2012. Nazarbayev refused to sign the amendments and submitted them to the Constitutional Council for consideration.

"As we know, there were fundamental amendments. Such a concept as El basi - Leader of the nation was introduced. An exception was made that he can rule the country until 2020 through a referendum. These are fundamental changes. The president appealed to the Constitutional Council," he said.

Chairman of the Constitutional Council Igor Rogov took the time to make a decision within a month.

"I think we should make a decision as soon as possible. If the Constitutional Council, for example, makes a decision on Monday, Jan. 31 or not until Feb. 6, then it would be reasonable to hold a referendum next Sunday," he said.

"But if the Constitutional Council suddenly makes a diametrical straight decision, the president will be ready for the elections. It is important that the president has sent a clear signal to the public that he is ready to work on his post," he said.

He said that roughly 5.5 million signatures - or a minimum of 90 percent of the electorate - are willing to support Nazarbayev in the elections and referendum. "I think there is a high probability of holding a referendum, but let's wait for the decision, as there is little time," he said.

According to the poll, the president is supported by 90 percent of the population. Experts agree that Nazarbayev will remain in power regardless of whether the presidential elections or a referendum will be held in 2012.

A similar referendum was held in Kazakhstan in 1995 when Nazarbayev's powers were extended until 1999. The 70-year-old Nazarbayev has been in power for over 20 years.

He said that if the Constitutional Council makes a decision on the elections, then the following question arises, "What to do with parliament?" The president has the right to dissolve the parliament.

"I think that this cannot be done not because parliament is more loyal to the president, but because the parliament and the government operate in a single mode. This is a long-standing dream of the president," he said.

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