European Union urges Kazakhstan not to extend president’s term of office

January 24. Interfax. Brussels

European Union urges Kazakhstan not to extend president's term of officeEuropean Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Friday expressed anxiety over a vote in Kazakhstan’s parliament on January 14 that approved draft constitutional amendments to extend incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s term of office, which expires in 2012, by eight years.

In a statement released in Brussels, Ashton urged Kazakhstan to scrap the term extension initiative and provide guarantees that it would go ahead with the presidential elections due to take place in 2012 and 2017 under the current constitution.

If Kazakhstan fails to do so, the EU would seriously question the country’s declared commitment to democracy and pluralism, Ashton said.

She credited Kazakhstan with being an important partner to the EU and important member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.