Kazakhstan: President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced retirement plans

Nursultan Nazarbayev announced on Tuesday his exit from the presidency of Kazakhstan. The news were met with exclamation by Kazakh people. Most of them have not seen any other leader ruling the country in previous decades. President Nazarbayev has completed thirty years in Kazakhstan’s leadership.

The local populations opened their televisions on Tuesday night to watch a Presidential address. The address was expected to entail routine celebrations in anticipation of the Nowruz, the Iranian New Year Day celebrated annually on 21 March. Nonetheless, the Presidential message during Nowruz celebrations exclaimed viewers. Mr. Nazarbayev found an opportunity to announce his resignation from Kazakhstan’s leadership.

President Nazarbayev authorised the Kazakh Senate Speaker, Qasym-Jomart Toqayev, to assume interim leadership of the country until next elections.

President Nazarbayev’s Biography

The 78-year-old leader was a former steel worker in the country’s quarries before joining the Communist party. President Nazarbayev was sworn into office on 24 April 1990 and was successively elected in the country’s leadership for three consecutive decades.

During his tenure, President Nazarbayev created a cult around his name. Several public buildings including schools, streets, and an airport were named after the President to honour his role in domestic politics.

Mixed Reaction

President Nazarbayev’s news of resignation were met with mixed reactions. Some people rushed in foreign exchange offices to convert local Kazakh tenges to U.S. dollars – fearful of extreme devaluation of tenge’s exchange rate. The Kazakh central banker issued a press statement on Wednesday morning scolding traders and speculators against shorting the local currency. Other citizens expressed their relief about President Nazarbayev. They were afraid of the worst case scenario taking place that their President lost his life during office, inciting political turmoil from feuds among potential successors. Finally, a portion of Kazakhs expressed satisfaction of President Nazarbayev’s exodus and advised neighbouring states to follow his example.

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