Kazakhstan president announces resignation after 29yrs in power

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has resigned from his position after 29 years in power.

“I have decided to end my duties as president,” Nazarbayev said in a televised address on Tuesday without giving a reason for the decision.

“This year I will have held the highest post for 30 years. The people gave me the opportunity to be the first president of an independent Kazakhstan,” he said.

As per the country’s constitution, Kassym-Jomart Toqaev, the speaker of the country’s upper parliament chamber will hold presidential authority for now, Nazarbayev said.

Nazabayev said he will continue as leader of the ruling Nur Otan party and will remain as chairman of the presidential Security Council, which could allow him to retain key powers.

The news came hours after Nazarbayev’s office said it would make an important announcement.

Nazarbayev, 78, has led Kazakhstan since 1989, when it was still part of the Soviet Union. He came to power as the Central Asian country’s Communist Party chief and was then elected president.

In 2015, he was elected for another five-year term, reportedly taking nearly 98 percent of the vote.

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, there has been speculation that Nazarbayev might step down as president but continue to hold power in another capacity.

The group reported in February that Nazarbayev had sought clarification from Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council on an article dealing with the termination of presidential duties, prompting concerns that Nazarbayev was seeking to maintain his grip on power if he stepped down as president.

Rights groups have accused Nazarbayev of suppressing dissent, prolonging his time in office and using political means to subdue political opponents.

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