Almaty: Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has run his energy-rich country since the collapse of the Soviet Union, will seek a fresh term in office in 2012, an advisor told local media on Thursday.
"The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and leader of the nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, intends to run for president in 2012," his advisor Yermukhamet Yertysbayev said in an interview with local daily Svoboda Slova.
Nazarbayev, a former Communist Party boss who has ruled the Central Asian state since the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago, has drawn repeated criticism for his alleged authoritarian tendencies.
His current term in office expires in 2012, but in 2007 Parliament exempted him from term-limit restrictions, opening the way for the strongman to stay in office indefinitely.
Earlier this year, Parliament also named him "Leader of the Nation", granting him immunity from prosecution after leaving office.
Yertysbayev dismissed speculation that the 70-year-old Nazarbayev might be granted even greater powers in a referendum ahead of the election, or that they would be cancelled in favour of a referendum on his rule.
"These elections will happen, because no one can ignore the basic rule -- the Constitution," he said.
"There won`t be a referendum on the extension of powers or powers for life. It is all speculation.”