Nazarbayev delegates some powers to parliament and government

Nazarbayev delegates some powers to parliament and government

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will delegate some of his sweeping powers to the Central Asian nation's parliament and cabinet, he said on Wednesday, a move that could facilitate an eventual political transition, Reuters reported.

In a brief televised address, Nazarbayev said proposed constitutional reforms would allow parliament to form the cabinet which would in turn have more powers to manage the economy.

Under the current constitution, Nazarbayev appoints all cabinet members. His Nur Otan party dominates parliament which has no serious opposition parties.

Following the reform, the president will focus on strategic matters, foreign policy and national security and will serve as an arbiter between the branches of power, Nazarbayev said.

"The point of the proposed reform is in a serious redistribution of powers and democratization of the political system as a whole," he said.

Nazarbayev has run the nation of 18 million people bordering Russia and China with a firm hand since 1989, first as regional Communist Party chief and then, after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, as the president of a newly independent nation.

The decision to revise the constitution follows the death last September of Islam Karimov, president of neighboring Uzbekistan, who had also been in power since 1989.

Devolving some presidential powers could make it easier for the political elite to manage succession by splitting key roles between different players rather than allowing one successor to concentrate power in his hands.