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Kazakh leader Nazarbayev resigns after 30 years in power

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, March 19, IRNA -- Kazakhstan's 79-year-old President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned on Tuesday after three decades in power, saying his oil-rich Central Asian nation now needed "a new generation of leaders".

"I have taken a decision, which was not easy for me, to resign as president," Nazarbayev said on Tuesday in a televised address before signing a decree terminating his powers as of March 20.

"As the founder of the independent Kazakh state I see my task now in facilitating the rise of a new generation of leaders who will continue the reforms that are under way in the country."

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, speaker of the upper house of parliament, will take over as Kazakhstan's acting president for the remaining of his term in line with the constitution, Nazarbayev said. Kazakhstan is scheduled to hold both presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

Nazarbayev said he would continue to chair the Security Council and remain leader of the Nur Otan party which dominates parliament.

Late February he dissolved his cabinet, criticizing the ministers of 'not doing their job properly'. 'In recent years, social and economic situtions haven't changed much so I have taken an important decision,' he said at the time. 'Kazakh citizens that have needed government's subsidies haven't received them due to the ministers who haven't done their job well. They aren't directly connected to the people and don't know their problems,' he said following the government's dissolution.

The former Communist Party boss steered his nation of 18 million people to independence from Moscow in 1991. He won 97.7 percent of the vote in the last presidential election in 2015.

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