In Kazakhstan the story about referendums and constitutional amendments seems to be coming to a close. As noted in previous posts, there was a ‘popular’ initiative to hold a referendum to allow President Nursultan Nazarbaev to hold office until 2020. The parliament adopted the reform, the president vetoed it, the parliament effectively overturned the veto, and the president sent the bill to to the Constitutional Court.
RFE/RL is now reporting that the Court rejected the constitutionality of the proposed referendum reform, stating that the president had the right to accept or reject the referendum. In turn, President Nazarbaev announced that he rejected the referendum, but that he was proposing an early presidential election.
RFE/RL reports that a constitutional amendment was required to allow the early election (though I am unclear why President Nazarbaev could not have resigned and provoked an election). The amendment has now been passed.
There is now a further report indicating that the election date has been set for 3 April. Opposition leaders are criticising the early election, stating that they will not be ready. However, the notion that President Nazarbaev could be defeated is virtually unimaginable.