Astana [Kazakhstan]: Newly sworn-in President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Wednesday suggested renaming the country’s capital in honour of former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev following his sudden resignation on Tuesday.
“I propose … naming the country’s capital Astana in honour of the first president,” Al Jazeera quoted Tokayev as saying.
“The opinion of [Nazarbayev] will be of special, one can say priority, importance in the development and adoption of strategic decisions,” Tokayev added.
Addressing the nation on television, the 78-year-old leader announced his resignation after remaining 30 years in power and handed over the duties of the State to Tokayev, who served as the Speaker of the Upper House.
Nazarbayev stated that according to the Kazakh Constitution, the Speaker of the country’s upper parliament chamber, Toqaev, is supposed to hold presidential authority for now onwards.
Nazarbayev added that he will continue as leader of the ruling Nur Otan party and will hold his position of the chairman of the presidential Security Council, which could allow him to retain key powers.
Nazarbayev has led Kazakhstan since 1989 when it was a part of the Soviet Union. He rose to power as the Central Asian country’s Communist Party chief and later elected as the President.
Nazarbayev took charge as the President of Kazakhstan in 1990, following the death of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in 2016, who was the last regional leader to have been in power since before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The former President rose to power as the Central Asian country’s Communist Party chief and later elected as the president. He was elected for another five-year term in 2015, reportedly taking nearly 98 per cent of the votes.
According to a statement published by the Presidential Office of Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev spoke with Russian ally President Vladimir Putin about his resignation and the pair agreed to maintain “regular contact.”