Kazakhstan: Ruling party nominates Tokayev for president

Acting President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev (right) and Nursultan Nazarbayev on March 20 (akorda.kz)

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party has nominated interim President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for the presidency.

The announcement was made at a party congress on April 23 where it had been expected to nominate its candidate for a snap presidential election in less than two months, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reported.

“I propose for consideration Tokayev’s candidacy,” said Nursultan Nazarbayev, who chairs the Nur Otan party despite retiring from the presidency in March.

“I ask everyone to support his candidacy,” he added.

Ex-President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned last month after nearly 30 years leading the Central Asian state but remains the leader of Nur Otan.

On April 9, interim President Tokayev announced a snap presidential election for June 9. The vote appears aimed at shortening the political transition period and decreasing the chances of instability following the abrupt resignation of Nazarbayev.

The abrupt announcement of a vote has also left potential opponents of a ruling-party candidate with little time to mount a campaign, reducing their chances in a country where the opposition has been marginalized and politics is still dominated by Nazarbayev, whose favorite will be virtually certain to win the presidency.

Tokayev, who is also a member of Nur Otan, became interim president on March 20, a day after Nazarbayev announced his resignation.

Nazarbayev, 78, is chairman for life of Kazakhstan’s Security Council and has been granted the title of “elbasy,” or leader of the nation, which gives him and his family lifelong immunity from any civic or criminal prosecution.

Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter, Darigha Nazarbayeva, succeeded Tokayev as speaker of the parliament’s upper chamber, the Senate, after he took over the presidential duties on March 20.

Before Tokayev’s nomination, she had also been seen as a potential presidential candidate.

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Times of Central Asia