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U.S. welcomes Nazarbayev's decision not to hold referendum

01.02.2011 3235

Almaty. February 1. Kazakhstan Today - The United States praises the decision of the President of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev not to hold a national referendum that would extend his presidential term until 2020, the agency reports.

The United States on Tuesday welcomed Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's decision to scrap a referendum which would have handed him a third decade in power by skipping elections, Reuters reported.

Last month Washington condemned Kazakhstan's plans to extend Nazarbayev's rule until 2020, bypassing elections due in 2012 and 2017, saying such a move would be "a setback for democracy."

On Monday, Nazarbayev supported the Constitutional Council's ruling that such a referendum would be unconstitutional and called an early election to be held later this year. His current term had been due to expire at the end of 2012.

Kazakhstan's parliament is expected this week to set a date for the election, which Nazarbayev is likely to win. An aide to the president has said the vote may take place in early May.

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