Yermet Zhumabayev, a parliamentarian, said: "Taking into account the first president's historic role as one of the founders of a new, independent Kazakhstan, as well as a need to complete the launched political and economic reforms, the joint [parliamentary] commission adopted this decision."

Nazarbayev, a 66-year-old former steelworker who has been in power since 1989, led the Central Asian state to independence in 1991 after the Soviet Union's collapse.
 
The vast steppe nation of 15 million, which borders Russia and China, aspires to take over the rotating chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2009.

Source: Agencies