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KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakh leader Nazarbayev resigns after three decades

KAZAKHSTAN: Kazakh leader Nazarbayev resigns after three decades

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has led the country since independence from the Soviet Union, has announced his resignation.

In a televised address, he said the decision had “not been simple” but gave no reason for the move.

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Mr Nazarbayev, 78, has been largely unchallenged since he became leader of the oil-rich nation in 1989.

“I have decided to give up my powers as president,” he said in an address.

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Mr Nazarbayev said the speaker of the upper house of parliament, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, would take over as acting president for the remainder of his term which expires in March 2020.

The leader, who had been expected to seek re-election, became lifelong head of Kazakhstan’s influential security council last May.

He will also remain as head of the ruling party and will hold the formal title Leader of the Nation.

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