On declaring independence from the Soviet Union, the president was to be elected for a five-year term by the people. President Saparmurat Niyazov, was elected unopposed on 21 June 1992. In a referendum in January 1994, it was decided that he would be president for eight more years. In 1999, the country's parliament decided that he would be president for life. He died on 21 December 2006. An election to replace him was held in 11 February 2007.