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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nazarbayev's Term Extended Till 2000

ALMATY -- Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has won a landslide victory in a national referendum on extending his term until December 2000, official results confirmed Wednesday.


The central electoral commission said 95.46 percent of the more than 8 million people who voted in the former Soviet republic favored extending Nazarbayev's term in office. The turnout was 91.21 percent, it said in a statement.


The people of Kazakhstan had been asked in the referendum April 29 to vote "Yes" or "No" to a single question -- whether they wanted Nazarbayev to extend his term.


Nazarbayev, who would have faced presidential elections in December 1996, called the referendum last month after a constitutional crisis left the country without a parliament.


He had already cited preliminary results one day after the referendum that he had won 95.4 percent of the vote.


Kazakhstan is now set to press ahead with economic reform, ministers said.


Finance Minister Alexander Pavlov said the outcome of the weekend vote meant "continuation of the reforms -- the chance to work calmly and carry on with reform."


Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Sobolev said Kazakhstan, an oil-rich former Soviet republic bordering China, would combine political stability with energetic reform in the wake of Nazarbayev's victory.


Western governments saw the referendum and the term extension as a step away from democracy.


The two ministers, speaking at the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank, said Kazakhstan was seeking fresh loans on top of the $60 million approved by the bank last year to finance key imports.


Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the bank's only former Soviet members, both joined in 1994.


Sobolev said Kazakhstan had managed to check inflation significantly so far this year, after prices rose 1,268 percent in 1994.


"In the first quarter we had 22 percent [inflation], and in April 3 percent. We've applied the brakes very hard, and we believe we'll be able to restrain, or rein back, inflation," Sobolev said in an interview.


"We believe our national bank has started to work well with monetary methods of control. We're keeping close watch on prices set by monopolies and carrying out demonopolization of certain sectors," he said.