Kazakhstan – Constitutional amendment and proposed referendum

The story of the proposed constitutional amendment in Kazakhstan is becoming more and more tortuous.

According to RFE/RL, these are, I think, the most recent developments. Parliament passed a law to extend President Nazarbaev’s term of office to 2020. The president vetoed this reform. Parliament then, in effect, voted to overrule the president’s veto and has now passed a bill to hold a referendum to extend his term to this date. According to RFE/RL, the president then asked the Constitutional Council to rule on the proposed referendum’s legality. This decision is awaited. Basically, it seems as if President Nazarbaev is playing hard to get, even if the eventual outcome is scarcely in doubt.

However, it appears as if the Kazakhstan parliament has passed one constitutional amendment. RTE/RL reports that Art. 46(4) of the constitution has now officially been changed and that it now reads something along the lines of “The status and authority of the First President of the Republic, “El Basy” [leader of the nation], shall be determined by the Constitution and constitutional law”. The amendment introduced the honorific “El Basy” into the article.

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