Kazakhstan’s parliament is expected to lift a presidential veto on a planned referendum in the next few hours, paving the way for leader Nursultan Nazarbayev to extend his rule.
The veteran leader has already vetoed the plan, saying he would prefer re-election, but parliament could still defy his apparent reluctance.
In the capital Astana, one man said: ‘‘We have shown ourselves to be a good state. Foreigners are visiting the country. I am afraid that a civil conflict might break out if another leader takes power.’‘
The referendum would mean Nazarbayev could remain in charge of Central Asia’s largest economy without re-election until 2020.
Kazakhstan’s opposition has described the planned move as the ‘death of democracy’, while Washington also said it is a setback.