Lawmakers in Kazakhstan have moved a step closer to granting President Nursultan Nazarbayev lifetime political powers.

Parliament's lower house on Tuesday approved legislation that would pronounce Mr. Nazarbayev "leader of the nation," and grant him immunity from prosecution. The upper house is set to take up the measure on Thursday.

President Nazarbayev has run the Central Asian nation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Under the draft legislation, "the leader of the nation" can not be detained, arrested, searched or interrogated.  The measure also protects the assets of Mr. Nazarbayev and his family.

The "leader of the nation" status would also allow President Nazarbayev to have a say in domestic and foreign policies even after he leaves office.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.