In an unexpected move Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazerbayev, the man who has led the country since it split from the Soviet Union, has engineered an early parliamentary election.
His ruling Nur Otan party has a monopoly of power in the Mazhilis lower house, but it has asked President Nazerbayev to dissolve parliament and allow an opposition to take seats.
Kazakhstan has never held an election judged free and fair by international observers.
A snap election has been expected since Nazerbayev won another five years as president in April, but not the proposed change in the electoral law. This would scrap the seven percent of the vote requirement for the constitution of a parliamentary party for the party coming second in the election.