Nazarbayev resigns

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 19 Mar 2019 by Alex Teddy

President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan resigned on March 19. Although he had been in poor health for some time his resignation came sooner than anticipated. He ruled the country for 30 years. He retains the official title 'Leader of the Nation' so he can remain the power behind the throne. He is the last Soviet era leader in the former USSR.An acting president has been appointed. Kasym-Jomart Tokayev is the acting president. Tokayev is an ethnic Kazakh (like Nazarbayev) as opposed to a Kazakh citizen of Russian ancestry. The acting president is 65 and has held several senior posts including prime minister. A former diplomat, he is fluent in English and Chinese besides Russian and Kazakh of course.A presidential election is scheduled for April 2020. Tokayev will serve out the rest of Nazarbayev's term and likely stand for election in 2020. If he does then it is a virtual certainty that he will win. Putin was appointed acting president by Yeltsin in 1999 and went on to be elected in his own right the next year. Tokayev is very private. His wife and son are seldom seen with him in public. He has been appointed because he is widely acceptable and will guarantee that Nazarbayev will enjoy security in retirement. At 65 he is unlikely to serve as long as Nazarbayev has done. He was not seen as one of the frontrunners for the job until recently.

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