It has been widely reported that Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has rejected parliament-approved amendments to enhance his executive powers. But Nazarbayev’s refusal to sign the legislation may not be the end of the story.
A little-known loophole exists that leaves the door open for the amendments to become law automatically, even without Nazarbayev’s approval, noted presidential aide Yermukhamet Yertysbayev. Usually laws passed by parliament are sent for approval to Nazarbayev, who either approves them or vetoes them. On this occasion, however, Nazarbayev has done neither. Instead, he has merely declined to sign the legislation. According to Article 19 of the law regulating parliamentary affairs, a bill that is not vetoed, signed or returned to parliament automatically becomes law within a month.
In theory, then, the amendments could become law on June 13, a month after the upper house of parliament approved them.
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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.