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Kazakhstan parliament removes term limits for president

[JURIST] Kazakhstan's parliament [official website] removed term limits on the rule of President Nursultan Nazarbayev [official website, BBC profile] Friday, effectively allowing him to remain president for life. The measure only applies to Nazarbayev, and subsequent presidents would have to abide by the law limiting them to two terms in office. Another constitutional change, supported by Nazarbayev [statement, in English], reduced the length of a president's term from 7 years to 5. Nazarbayev must still approve the move for it to become law.

Nazarbayev has been in power since 1989, but the country has never had elections considered fair and free by western monitors. He was last elected [BBC report] in December 2005 with 91 percent of the vote, but international observers raised concerns of fraud [JURIST report]. Opposition parties challenged the results [JURIST report], to no avail. Reuters has more.

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