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New Kazakh leader hands Nazarbayev's daughter key post

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 20, 2019 - Duration: 02:11s

New Kazakh leader hands Nazarbayev's daughter key post

Kazakhstan's new president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev handed the key post of senate speaker on Wednesday to a daughter of his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, who unexpectedly resigned a day earlier after three decades in power.

Saskia O'Donoghue reports

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New Kazakh leader hands Nazarbayev's daughter key post

Kazakhstan's new president has handed the key post of senate speaker to the daughter of his predecessor.

Nursultan Nazarbayev unexpectedly resigned on Tuesday (March 19) after three decades in power.

It now appears that his stepping down was the first step in a choreographed political transition that will see him retain considerable sway over the Central Asian nation of 18 million people.

His daughter Dariga's promotion - just after ex-speaker Tokayev's was inaugurated - raises her profile as a potential successor.

Under Kazakhstan's constitution, the senate speaker assumes presidential powers in the event of the president's resignation or death.

So, it seems as if Dariga is a shoo-in for the role in next year's election.

But that's little surprise to many Kazakhs, as Reuters' Olzhas Auyezov explains from Almaty.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) OLZHAS AUYEZOV, REUTERS KAZAKHSTAN CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "If true it means that the process from now on might be straight forward where she runs in the election and wins with a very wide margin supported by state media and administrative resources as well.

Kazakhstan doesn't have a long tradition of democracy or any strong institution, so this is not surprising to most Kazakhs." Tokayev will serve for the rest of the presidential term ending in April 2020.

Speaking at his swearing in on Wednesday (March 20), he promised to continue the government's policies.

Nazarbayev ran the vast oil and gas-rich country since 1989 when it was a Soviet republic, routinely winning elections with more than 90 percent of the vote.

And that's no surprise.

Most Kazakhs don't get deeply involved with politics.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) OLZHAS AUYEZOV, REUTERS KAZAKHSTAN CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "Most ordinary Kazakhs, their deal with the government has long been that they don't really care about domestic policy and will vote for the incumbent.

And in return they are guaranteed a certain level of welfare which is brought in by revenue from exports of oil and metals." But they'll have to wait until next April to see exactly what happens.

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