Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev Resigns
19 March, 2019

The Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev during a summit in Brussels, Belgium on October 18, 2018. Photo: EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

The first and so far only President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev has announced he will be resigning.

"I have made a decision to cease my presidential powers," the 78-year-old Nazarbaev said during a televised video statement on March 19. "This year it will be 30 years since I've been occupying the highest post. The nation gave me the opportunity to be the first president of independent Kazakstan."   

The speaker of the country's senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will take over Nazarbaev's post until the next presidential election. In Nazarbaev's opinion, he is the person who can be trusted with this role. 

Nazarbaev will retain his position as the chairman of Nur-Otan political party and, more notably, as the head of Kazakhstan's Security Council. The latter is expected to be a lifelong position. On May 31, the senate voted for the Security Council to become the most powerful body in Kazakhstan.

In that way, Nazarbaev – whose regime was repeatedly criticized for multiple human rights violations – will continue to be one of the most influential people in Kazakhstan.

/By Maria Romanenko