Wed, 18 May 2022

NUR-SULTAN -- Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has replaced predecessor Nursultan Nazarbaev as the leader of the ruling Nur-Otan party, the latest in a series of moves to consolidate his power and marginalize his predecessor following deadly anti-government protests in early January.

The presidential press service said that the decision was made at the party's congress on January 28 at the behest of Nazarbaev.

Despite announcing in March 2019 that he was stepping down after almost 30 years of ruling the oil-rich Central Asian state, Nazarbaev continued to have a strong influence over Kazakhstan's domestic and foreign policies as lifetime chairman of the influential Security Council and the leader the Assembly of Kazakhstan's People and the Nur-Otan party.

While he lost the first two positions earlier this week, and the party leadership on January 27, Nazarbaev continues to enjoy the powers of 'elbasy' (leader of the nation).

The congress was held amid a protest by some members of the party who quit its ranks over what they see as the party's 'failure' to prevent bloodshed during the anti-government protests.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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