Kazakh President Tokayev replaces influential predecessor as ruling party leader

Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev speaks during a parliamentary session in Nur-Sultan.
Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev speaks during a parliamentary session in Nur-Sultan. Copyright Kazakhstan's Presidential Press Service via AP
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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The move comes after nationwide protests against the influence of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has been chosen as the new leader of the country's ruling party.

Tokayev takes over from his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev, who dominated the country’s politics for decades.

The move cements the President's power following deadly riots across Kazakhstan earlier this month and also reduces the influence of Nazarbayev.

More than 220 people died and government buildings were set on fire after protests against a rise in oil prices descended into wider anger about living conditions.

Tokayev replaced Nazarbayev as security council head during the unrest, in which many demonstrators chanted “old man out".

The former President -- who had led Kazakhstan since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 -- resigned in 2019 but retained enormous influence as head of both the Nur-Otan party and the country’s national security council.

On Friday, the presidency tweeted that Tokayev had been " unanimously elected" as party leader of the Nur-Otan.

The Kazakh parliament is also due to decide whether to lift some of Nazarbayev's privileges.

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