Kazakhstan votes for new national anthem

Kazakhstan's parliament Friday backed President Nursultan Nazarbayev's proposal to adopt his reworked version of a popular patriotic song as the Central Asian nation's new national anthem, the parliament's press office said. Nazarbayev told lawmakers in a letter he edited the lyrics of the "Mening Kazakhstanym," or "My Kazakhstan," song to reflect the Kazakhs' "centuries-old fight for independence," and "the idea that the wealth of the Kazakh land and people will open a better future for our descendants."

"I offer you the reworked lyrics ... but I do not claim the authorship," the letter quoted him as saying. The ex-Soviet republic's current anthem was created by a group of authors after the oil-rich nation gained independence with the 1991 Soviet Union collapse.

"There is no doubt that we need a new anthem that would give the citizens of today's rapidly developing Kazakhstan a special strength of solidarity," Culture Minister Esetzhan Kosubayev told parliament while proposing the bill.

To become law the bill, which was unanimously backed by both chambers of parliament, must be signed by Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev has ruled the nation of 15 million since it was part of the Soviet Union. He is credited for Kazakhstan's post-Soviet economic progress, but criticized for undemocratic policies, reports the AP. I.L.

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