Nazarbayev steps down as Kazakh president
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has announced he is stepping down.
"I have made the decision to terminate my powers as Kazakh president," Nazarbayev said in an address to the nation on Tuesday aired by Kazakh TV channels.
"This year is the 30th since I took the highest post. People gave me an opportunity to be the first president of an independent Kazakhstan," he said.
According to the Kazakh Constitution, if a president steps down or dies, the Kazakh Senate speaker takes on his powers until the expiration of the presidential term. If the Senate's speaker is unable to take on presidential powers, then the Kazakh Majilis speaker does so. If the Kazakh Majilis speaker is also unable to take on the powers, then the Kazakh prime minister performs the duties of Kazakh president.
The person assuming presidential powers steps down as Senate speaker, Majilis speaker or prime minister, respectively. Vacant posts are filled in this case, in accordance with the Kazakh Constitution.
Nazarbayev, who turns 79 this year, was the first, and so far has been the only, president of Kazakhstan. He won several presidential elections since Kazakhstan's gaining of independence in 1991. The last time he won was in the extraordinary elections of 2015, where he gained 97.75% of votes. His current term in office expires in April 2020.
In 2007, the Kazakh parliament granted Nazarbayev the right to run for presidency an unlimited number of times.