SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 3 December 2021, Friday |

Kazakh ex-president to hand over ruling party leadership to successor

Kazakhstan’s former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has announced that he will relinquish his position as leader of the ruling Nur Otan party to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, according to Nazarbayev’s spokesman.

Nazarbayev, 81, ruled the Central Asian country for nearly three decades before abruptly stepping down in 2019 and naming his loyal ally Tokayev as his successor.

However, he has retained the party leadership role and continues to be the head of the Security Council, with broad powers.

The move will strengthen the position of former diplomat Tokayev, 68, as Nur Otan dominates Kazakhstan’s parliament, and cement the president’s role as a full-time successor.

“This means that Tokayev will run for a second term,” political activist Togzhan Kozhaly wrote on Facebook.

Tokayev was elected president for a five-year term in 2019.

Nazarbayev’s spokesman, Aidos Ukibay told local news website Tengrinews that in the former president’s view, “Nur Otan must serve as the main support for the President of Kazakhstan, especially now, during the global crisis caused by the pandemic”.