Nazarbayev turns down 'Leader of the Nation' Title

    By Richard Orange in Almaty
    In a statement read on Kazakhstan's Khabar TV channel, Mr Nazarbayev said: "I consider that it is not necessary to sign this state...into law." A bill granting Nazarbayev the new status was approved by Kazakhstan's upper house on May 13, after being proposed by three deputies from the pro-presidential Nur-Otan party.
    The title would have left him certain powers even after stepping down as President, and he and his family immunity from prosecution.
    Mr Nazarbayev's statement follows criticism of the bill internationally and from Kazakhstan's domestic opposition, which has accused the President's supporters of seeking to install a constitutional monarchy.
    Mr Nazarbayev has been President the Central Asian nation, the world's ninth largest country, ever since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
    This is not the first time Nazarbayev has turned down an honour proposed by parliamentarians.
    In 2008, the Parliament proposed changing the name of the country's capital Astana, which means simply 'capital' in Kazakh, to "Nursultan" in honour of the city's founder.
    "The question of changing the name is for another generation," Nazarbayev said.
    Nazarbayev made the announcement declining the title after hosting the Kazakhstan Investment Summit in Almaty, according to the New York Times.