Kazakh president rejects 'leader of nation' status

Kazakhstan Materials 4 June 2010 06:34 (UTC +04:00)

The Kazakh parliament will gather for an emergency meeting on Friday a day after the country's long-ruling president rejected the bill which vests him with "the leader of the nation" status, RIA Novosti reported.

Both chambers did not announce the agenda of the urgent meeting, but the lawmakers may try to gather the necessary three fourths of votes in each of the parliament's two chambers to override the presidential veto imposed on the bill.

The parliament, dominated by the pro-presidential Nur Otan party, approved the bill in mid-May, but Nazarbayev vetoed it on Thursday.

"The status of the leader of the nation can not be acquired only through laws, decrees and other legislative acts," President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, said on Thursday.

Some analysts see the "leader of the nation" initiative as a possible succession plan for Nazarbayev, allowing him to officially quit presidency but de-facto remain in power.

Under the law, the "leader of the nation" receives a life-long immunity for detention, arrest or prosecution, while infringement on his life is considered an act of terrorism.