Kazakh Leader Comes Closer to becoming 'President for Life'
Fresh off completing its year as Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)'s 'Chair-In-Office', Kazakhstan’s two-chamber parliament recently approved a referendum for a general vote on changing the constitution to allow President Nazarbayev to serve another nine years. The referendum, which would cancel the next presidential election scheduled for 2012, was started by a forum of 900 people in the eastern city of Ust-Kamenogorsk. This move will allow Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan's only president since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, to remain in power without having to fend off any challengers in an electoral arena, symbolic or otherwise.
Anthony Bowyer, IFES Program Manager for the Caucasus and Central Asia, talks to us about this referendum and what it might mean for the country and the region.