Kazakhstan's long-time ruler vows to boost parliament's role

The president of Kazakhstan, who has led the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation for more than a quarter century, is vowing to strengthen the parliament's authority.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, 76, said in a televised address Wednesday that the powers of both the parliament and the cabinet will be expanded. He said the presidency will play the role of "supreme arbiter" between various branches of government.

Nazarbayev has led Kazakhstan since 1989 first as its Communist boss and then president, maintaining a firm grip on the resource-rich nation. He won a fifth term in office in 2015 with 98 percent of the vote.

Kazakhstan's economy has surged on the back of its mineral riches, but plummeting prices for oil and Kazakhstan's interdependence with neighboring Russia has hurt its economy in recent years.