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March 16-23

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Kazakhstan president Nazarbayev steps down after 30 years in power 

The Guardian reports that Kazakhstan’s president has announced his retirement after nearly 30 years as leader of the central Asian nation – but he will likely remain a power behind the throne, analysts said, as he retains key posts in Kazakhstan’s military and political bureaucracy.

The New York Times writes that Mr. Nazarbayev called the decision to resign difficult: “As the founder of the independent Kazakh state, I see my task now in facilitating the rise of a new generation of leaders who will continue the reforms that are underway in the country,” Mr. Nazarbayev said in a nationally televised speech.

Mr. Nazarbayev said he would hand over his presidential powers immediately to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the speaker of the upper house of the parliament, which always approves Mr. Nazarbayev’s actions. Mr. Tokayev, 65, a former prime minister and foreign minister, will serve as acting president until elections scheduled for 2020.

Bloomberg informs that Nazarbayev announced his resignation less than a month after he dismissed the government and demanded sweeping changes to improve living standards, including trillions of tenge in additional spending. The central bank governor also resigned and parliament backed Nazarbayev’s choice to head the regulator.

While he has previously ruled out a transfer of power to one of his three daughters, the family remains influential in Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter, Dariga, is a prominent senator and another daughter Dinara controls Halyk Bank, the nation’s biggest lender, with her husband, Timur Kulibayev.


Prepared by Marina Muradyan

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