ASTANA: Kassym-Jomart Tokayev assumed the post of Kazakhstan’s president on Wednesday following the surprise resignation of veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev after three decades in power.
Nazarbayev, 78, resigned late on Tuesday in what appeared to be the first step in a choreographed political transition that will see him retain considerable sway.
Tokayev, a 65-year-old career diplomat fluent in Russian, English and Chinese, will serve for the rest of the term which ends in April 2020, in line with the constitution.
President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, resigns after three decades
It remains unclear whether the Moscow-educated former prime minister will then run for the presidency. Nazarbayev praised him on Tuesday as “a man who can be trusted to lead Kazakhstan”.
Nazarbayev, who has no obvious long-term successor, had run the oil-rich Central Asian nation since 1989 when it was a Soviet republic, routinely winning elections with more than 90 per cent of the vote.
Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Tuesday that he was resigning as the oil-rich Central Asian nation’s leader after three decades in power.
Nazarbayev, 78, has led the former Soviet republic since 1989, first as its Communist leader and then as president.
“I have taken a decision, which was not easy for me, to resign as president,” Nazarbayev said in a televised address.