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Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007, 06:37 GMT 07:37 UK
Kazakh MPs lift presidency limit

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. File photo
Mr Nazarbayev led Kazakhstan to independence in 1991
Kazakhstan's parliament has voted overwhelmingly to allow President Nursultan Nazarbayev to stand for an unlimited number of terms in office.

Under the current constitution of the oil-rich country, a president can only serve two terms in a row.

But only one of more than 100 deputies in both legislative chambers voted against the bill which now goes to Mr Nazarbayev for final approval.

Mr Nazarbayev has been in power since 1989. His current term ends in 2012.

"Taking into account the first president's historic role as one of the founders of a new, independent Kazakhstan, as well as a need to complete the launched political and economic reforms, the joint [parliamentary] commission adopted this decision," lawmaker Yermet Zhumabayev said.

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Another MP, Vladimir Nekhoroshev, said that parliament was "doing this not for Nazarbayev himself but for the sake of the people".

Mr Nazarbayev, 66, led Kazakhstan to independence, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

He has clung to power through a series of referendums and polls that have been criticised by Western monitors for not meeting democratic standards.


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