Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev says no plans for early presidential election

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev (file photo)

ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has said there are no immediate plans to push forward the date of the country’s next presidential election, which is scheduled for 2020, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reported.

His remarks in a February 5 video statement came amid speculation about a possible early election after his request for Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council to provide an official interpretation of an article from the country’s constitution that deals with the termination of presidential duties.

In a video statement, Nazarbayev said that his request to the Constitutional Council was a “routine move” to get clarification about “when and in what cases an incumbent president can be released from office.”

Nazarbayev said “there are no clear explanations on the matter while in other countries, their constitutions clearly define that.”

Nazarbayev also said he has not been unable to resolve questions on the issue himself.

“Yes, the president has a right to announce an early presidential election, but that is not the case at this point,” Nazarbayev said at the end of his video statement.

Speculation that Nazarbayev might again announce an early presidential election circulated on social media after the Constitutional Council said in a February 4 statement that Nazarbayev had requested that the council clarify Article 42, Section 3 of Kazakhstan’s constitution.

That article says the powers of the current Kazakh president shall terminate as of “the moment the newly elected President of the Republic takes office” as well as in the event of the current president’s “release from office, resignation, or death.”

“All former Presidents of the Republic except those who were discharged from office shall have the title of ex-President of the Republic of Kazakhstan,” it adds.

The 78-year-old Nazarbayev has been in power in Kazakhstan since before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

He was last elected in 2015, securing a five-year term after moving the date of the election vote up from 2016. That move was widely seen as an attempt to strengthen his grip on power.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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