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Political transition in Kazakhstan.

NURSULTAN Nazarbayev, who remained Kazakhstan's President for 30 years since 1989, resigned on March 19, 2019 and handed over power to Speaker of the Upper House of Parliament Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. In a surprising televised address, he highlighted his achievements and assured that presidential succession would not create any vacuum as he would retain his roles as Chairman of Kazakhstan's Security Council, member of the Constitutional Committee and leader of the Nur Otan Party. Exercising power through these offices, he wants to ensure smooth and orderly transfer of power to a new generation of leaders. The resignation of Nazarbayev from the Office of President has raised several questions: What implications will it have for Kazakhstan? How will it affect Kazakhstan's foreign policy especially its relations with Central Asian countries, Russia and China'.

Nursultan Nazarbayev was the last acting head of state who took office in the era of the Soviet Union. During his presidency, he did the maximum for the Republic, and if the world had a universal system for evaluating the effectiveness of the work of the heads of state, the First President of Kazakhstan, according to it, no doubt received 100%. During the presidency of Nazarbayev, a new statehood has been formed, a market economy has been built, all the institutions of society have been modernized, the income of the population has increased 9 times, the poverty level has been reduced 10 times, strategic development programs have been launched, and the balance of relations between Kazakhstan and with polar interests states like China, Russia and the United States has been maintained, in general, raised the status of the Republic in the international arena.

From the 1990s, a country with an explosive multinational composition, with an industry of exceptional union subordination that ceased to function fully in the same years, with an enormous burden of social and economic problems and an unresolved issue of borders, came out without civil strife, war and bloodshed. Kazakhstan has become a successful, economically prosperous state. Taking the principle of 'first economy, then politics' as a basis, Nursultan Nazarbayev was the first to do something that none of his neighbours decided on: he privatised, opened the country's doors to big capital. What came of this can now be seen firsthand: Kazakhstan has long and confidently outpaced its neighbours in various international development ratings, economic attractiveness and investor protection. It may take a long time to list all the merits of the First President of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan abandoned nuclear weapons at a time when everyone was desperately trying to get them. The country could make good money on this arsenal, but at the same time it would endanger both its own fate and the fate of the world. But Nursultan Nazarbayev did not do that. He proved to the world that authority can be earned without saber-rattling.

Why Nazarbayev has resigned? Many are saying a lot about his age, and assume that it could be the reason for his resignation. Yes, the First President of Kazakhstan is 78 years old. But he has good health so his resignation is not due to any physical/health reasons. Otherwise, he would completely leave politics, but this did not happen. The fact of the matter is that Kazakhstan has long begun the process of transition from a super-presidential model of government to parliamentarism. The country without stumbling and shock went through a stage of constitutional transfer of power and entered a new historical era. And those who say that the situation in Kazakhstan is now even less predictable than it was before are greatly mistaken. There will be no serious shocks in Kazakhstan after the resignation of the First President. Firstly, because the new President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will fully adhere to the course of his predecessor. This he confirmed during the oath ceremony. This means that the Republic's external and internal rate will remain unchanged. All major institutions of power of Kazakhstan will operate in accordance with the previous guidelines and principles.

Secondly, the President in Kazakhstan has recently been not the only one who is fully responsible for the decisions taken in the country. Since 2017, the democratic process of transition from a super-presidential to a presidential-parliamentary form of government has been launched in the Republic. The first stage of the redistribution of responsibility from the President to the Government and Parliament has already happened. Ministers and lawmakers received about 40 different kinds of powers, which previously only the President was vested with. And thirdly, Nursultan Nazarbayev is not leaving politics at all. He remains as Chairman of the Security Council with wide powers, as head of the ruling party and as the Leader of the Nation. He remains an authoritative politician who, even after his retirement from the post of President of the country, can influence the fate of the country.
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Publication:Pakistan Observer (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9KAZA
Date:May 18, 2019
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