Kazakhstan passes bill to transfer presidential powers

ASTANA, Kazakhstan -Kazakhstan on Monday passed a bill to transfer some of the president's powers to parliament and the Cabinet, the official news agency said.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev submitted the constitutional reform bill to parliament and it will become law once he has ratified the changes.

The 23-article bill was passed nearly unanimously by parliament, with just one of the 105 lawmakers failing to vote in favour, the Kazinform news agency reported.

Addressing parliament on Friday, Nazarbayev, 76, said the preparation of the draft had been "open and transparent".

He said the amendments "significantly strengthen" parliament's role, including in the selection of ministers, and would make efforts towards economic and political modernization "more effective".

Kazakhstan is an exporter of oil and metals and is the only former Soviet republic that is still run by its communist-era leader.

Under the current current constitution, the president appoints the Cabinet. His Nur Otan party dominates parliament.

Source: Anadolu Agency