Jun 10, 2019

Kazakhstan's first power handover in 3 decades met with protests

An opposition supporter shouts after being detained in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Photo: VyacheslavOseledko/AFP/Getty Images

Kazakhstan has elected a new president for the first time since independence, but “the choreographed transfer of power was overshadowed by sustained protests,” Reid Standish writes in Foreign Policy.

Flashback: Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned in March after three decades in power. He had the capital city renamed in his honor on the way out the door, and he will loom over the country’s politics as long as he’s alive.

  • His hand-picked successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, “brings decades of experience and an established rapport with Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China,” Standish writes.
  • The interior minister says 500 protestors were arrested. Local journalists tell Standish the handover of power, while staged, “sparked an interest and engagement with politics that was previously absent.”
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