Nazarbayev rebuffs ‘hero’ award, suggests new national holiday

December 20, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011 – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev turned down a “People’s Hero” award Saturday and instead suggested the creation of a new national holiday.

Late last month, Parliament passed a bill to present Nazarbayev with the honorific Halyk Kaharmany, Kazakh for “People’s Hero”, when the country marks its 20th independence anniversary on December 16.

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov proposed the idea.

Speaking to parliament after the legislation’s acceptance on November 29, Masimov said: “I am now signing this document, which is probably the most important document I have ever signed in my life,” local media reported at the time.

But Nazarbayev told journalists Saturday he will not ink the document into law, according to the Kazinform news agency.

The president was speaking at a press conference at the new TV and radio complex, called Kazmediacenter, in the capital city Astana.

Nazarbayev, who has ruled the country since 1990, told the media he did not take exception to another proposal to name December 1 as First President’s Day, Kazinform reported.

He said that many countries recognize such a holiday.