Expert: Kazakh president's refusal to hold referendum on extending powers is strong move
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 1 / Trend A. Gasimova /
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's refusal to hold a referendum on extending his powers is a strong move, which once again shows that he remains the number-one politician in Kazakhstan, Chief Editor of the Russian analytical agency Vestnik Kavkaza Alexei Vlasov told Trend today.
"Nazarbayev shows the West his willingness to go through a democratic electoral procedure. He has all of the tools necessary to mobilize the electorate. There is the coalition 'Kazakhstan-2020.' It includes key strategic programs aimed at modernization. A new party program will be adopted at the next congress of the Nur Otan People's Democratic Party. It will form the basis for his election platform in the elections," Vlasov said.
Nazarbayev decided not to hold a referendum, proposing instead snap presidential elections.
"I decided not to hold a referendum," Nazarbayev said on Monday appealing to the Kazakh people.
"It is a difficult situation, when as president, I must carry the burden of historical responsibility and make a decision. There is no higher assessment for me than the support of the people, " he said.
Nazarbayev is receiving formal support for his initiative from both Russia and the West.
"He stands for the Constitution. He is not against the referendum. He appears to be a politician who does not prolong his stay in power artificially. He goes to elections bravely," he said
The Kazakh parliament approved amendments to the Constitution last Friday. However, Nazarbayev refused to sign the amendments on Monday, and instead submitted them to the Constitutional Council for consideration.
On Monday, the Constitutional Council recognized a referendum on extending the incumbent president's powers as legally incorrect and contradicting the foundations of democracy.
A massive campaign on collecting signatures in support of the initiative took place in late 2010 and early 2011.
More than 5 million signatures of the minimum required 200,000 were collected in support of the referendum within a few weeks.