Pashinyan praises Nazarbayev’s ‘undeniable role in bringing progress and prosperity to Kazakhstan.’
ALMATY—Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev unexpectedly resigned on Tuesday after three decades in power, in what appeared to be the first step in a choreographed political transition that will see him retain considerable sway, Reuters reported.
“I have taken a decision, which was not easy for me, to resign as president,” Nazarbayev said in a nationwide TV address, flanked by his country’s blue and yellow flags, before signing a decree terminating his powers from March 20.
“As the founder of the independent Kazakh state I see my task now in facilitating the rise of a new generation of leaders who will continue the reforms that are underway in the country,” added Nazarbayev.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a telephone conversation with Nazarbayev hours after his resignation announcement.
According to the prime minister’s press office, Pashinyan highlighted Nazarbayev’s undeniable role in bringing progress and prosperity to Kazakhstan and his valuable contribution to the integration process in the Eurasian region.
Pashinyan also praised the friendly relations between the two countries and his personal relations with Nazarbayev, wishing his success in his future endeavors.
But Nazarbayev, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he would retain key security council and party leader positions and hand over the presidency to a loyal ally for the rest of his term, which ends in April 2020.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, speaker of the upper house of parliament, will take over as Kazakhstan’s acting president for the remainder of his term in line with the constitution, Nazarbayev, who has no apparent successor, said.
The Kremlin said Nazarbayev and Putin had spoken by phone on Tuesday, but gave no details of their conversation.