Home LATEST NEWS Kazakhstan’s president takes over as leader of the ruling party

Kazakhstan’s president takes over as leader of the ruling party

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By decision of the XXI Extraordinary Party Congress, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart [Tokaïev]was unanimously elected president of the Nour Otan partyannounced the Kazakh presidency on Twitter.

Demonstrations just after the New Year over the cost of fuel had quickly degenerated into riots in Kazakhstan, before a crackdown with live ammunition.

These events claimed 225 lives according to an official report, and Mr. Tokayev considered that they were the result of a plot of terrorists fomented abroad, without ever providing any evidence to that effect.

Employees in front of a building damaged by fire.

Municipal workers in Almaty prepare to cover the burnt-out City Hall building.

Photo: Associated Press/Sergei Grits

In the midst of a crisis, he dismissed his influential predecessor, the nation leader Noursultan Nazarbayev (1990-2019), head of the powerful Security Council and arrested one of his relatives, the head of the intelligence service Karim Massimov.

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Then Mr. Tokayev pointed out that those close to the former head of state had unduly enriched themselves, in this country abounding in hydrocarbons and minerals, plagued by elite corruption and nepotism.

The sons-in-law, a nephew and a grandson of the former president have been dismissed from key positions.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, 81, has spoken only once since the start of the year, nearly two weeks after the riots, to affirm from an undetermined location his allegiance to his successor, saying he is onlya retiree.

He nevertheless retained until Friday the head of the ruling party.

Parliament must also soon decide whether it will lift some of the privileges of Mr. Nazarbayev, whose capital bears the first name.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was chosen by his predecessor to succeed him. The 68-year-old diplomat was considered a loyal subject of Mr. Nazarbayev.

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