Kazakh president will seek new term in December elections

Longtime Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Wednesday he would seek a new, seven-year term in an election expected in December.

"I will stand for president and hope to get support of the people of Kazakhstan," Nazarbayev said during a live phone-in session on state television. "If I am given such support, I will complete the work that I've started, the work for the benefit of my people," Nazarbayev said.

The election authority said it should be held in December 2006. The last election was held ahead of schedule in 1999.

Nazarbayev, 65, has ruled the oil-rich Central Asian nation for 16 years, since before it became independent in the 1991 Soviet collapse. He had said earlier that he intended to run for a new term. Nazarbayev is credited for post-Soviet economic progress in the sprawling, AP reports.

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