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What’s Next for Kazakhstan?

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22.03.2019

ASTANA – On March 19, the only president that independent Kazakhstan has ever known, Nursultan Nazarbayev, announced his resignation after almost three decades of near-absolute power. In a televised speech, Nazarbayev praised the country’s achievements and called on its youth to build a bright future.

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Yet it was not a full farewell, because Nazarbayev said that he was not leaving the political scene. The big question now is what comes next for Kazakhstan.

Although Nazarbayev’s resignation came as a surprise, his promise to remain in politics was years in the making. He previously received the titles of First President (2000), Leader of the Nation (2010), and, in 2017, Elbasy, a Kazakh word meaning head of the nation or people. Because of his “historic mission,” he was given the lifelong right to present initiatives on state-building, domestic and foreign policy, and national security. What’s more, Kazakh state bodies are obliged to consider his proposals.

The “First President” also heads the Assembly of the People of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Security Council (which was elevated from an advisory to a constitutional body in 2018), and is a member of the........

© Project Syndicate