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Kazakhstan President may seek another 10 years

Kazakhstan's aging leader will seek to extend his rule until 2017 in the energy-rich central Asian nation's next election and may even seek to stay in power until after 2020, dampening speculation about potential successors.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev revealed plans to seek an extension to his two-decade-long rule during a conversation earlier this month, senior adviser Yermukhamet Yertysbayev said yesterday.

Mr Yertysbayev said the President was even prepared to stand for a further five-year term in 2017. Speculation about potential successors has flourished in recent years, but signs that the iron-fisted leader plans to extend his rule are likely to put those predictions to rest.

Mr Yertysbayev also dismissed rumours about plans by Mr Nazarbayev to dispense with the need for elections altogether and to rule indefinitely. Mr Nazarbayev has no real challengers to his authority and his re-election is all but guaranteed.