Bektenov Named as New Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

Olzhas Bektenov; Photo: @primeminister.kz

Olzhas Bektenov has been named as the new Prime Minister (PM) of Kazakhstan. His candidacy was presented to the President of Kazakhstan by the chairman of the ruling party, Amanat, Yerlan Koshanov. In accordance with the current legislation, President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev discussed Bektenov’s candidacy with the heads of parties in the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament). These were Yelnur Beisenbaev (Amanat), Magerram Magerramov (People’s Party of Kazakhstan), Azat Peruashev (Ak Zhol), Askhat Rakhimzhanov (National Social Democratic Party), Serik Egizbaev (Auyl), and Aidarbek Hodzhanazarov (Respublica). Bektenov’s candidacy was approved by Ak Zhol, Auyl and Respublica, whilst the People’s Party of Kazakhstan and the Nationwide Social Democratic Party (OSDP) abstained from agreeing to Bektenov’s candidacy as the head of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Since April 2023, Bektenov has served as head of the Presidential Administration. Previously, he worked as chair of the Anti-corruption Agency, head of the Department of Public Procurement, and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau for the city of Astana.

Political analysts noted  that Bektenov has the qualities to become an effective leader, especially when Kazakhstan is de-monopolizing the economy. “Bektenov has experience in the regions – in the akimats of Astana and Akmola Region,” stated political scientist Gaziz Abishev on his widely-quoted Telegram channel. “His main thing is his work in the anti-corruption service, where he carried out serious work to identify and fight corruption schemes. Last year, President Tokayev appointed him head of his Administration. Bektenov has resolutely embarked on management reform, streamlining processes and significantly reducing bureaucracy. At the same time, he actively coordinated the process of returning illegally acquired assets.

“It seems that Tokayev looked at him for a long time and had the opportunity to make sure of his professional and personal qualities,” Abishev continued. “Now, the economy needs a decisive manager capable of actively reconfiguring processes, while not being constrained by excessive fears and being focused on concrete results. Bektenov will benefit from his experience in the Anti-Corruption Service, and [undertake] a merciless anti-corruption clean-up.”

For the first hundred days as head of the Cabinet of Ministers, Bektenov will be granted wide-ranging powers to achieve results.

Deputies also expressed their opinions today on who should be removed from their posts. Additionally, the head of state made by decree a number of other personnel changes. Murat Nurtleu was reappointed to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was also named as a Deputy Prime Minister. Defense Minister, Ruslan Zhaksylykov, and Interior Minister, Yerzhan Sadenov, meanwhile, were both reappointed to their respective offices.