Alikhan Smailov remains as prime minister in new Kazakh government

Astana, Mar 30 (EFE).- Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov retained his position in the new Kazakh government after early parliamentary elections on March 19, official sources in the Central Asian republic reported on Thursday.

The chairman of the Mazhilis (lower house of the Kazakh parliament), Yerlan Koshanov, proposed Smailov’s candidacy to Kazakh leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, after which the leader discussed it with various parliamentary factions.

The members of parliament then voted in support of the 50-year-old politician, who has been head of the Kazakh executive for a year, to remain as prime minister.

Speaking at the Mazhilis, Tokayev took the opportunity to speak about the tasks ahead for the new cabinet of ministers.

One of them, the Kazakh leader said, is to reduce inflation which exceeded 20%, according to some reports, and to ensure economic growth of at least 4% a year.

“We need to radically change the model of economic development. For that we have to work on diversification and development of market rules,” Tokayev said.

He added that Astana’s main goal is to “create a competitive economy based on high technologies.”

Last year, Kazakhstan’s economy grew by 3.1%.

Following recent parliamentary elections, the ruling Kazakh party Amanat won 62 of the 98 seats, followed by Auyl (Village), which won eight seats, while the Ak Zhol Democratic Party and the emerging Respublica, secured six seats each.

The People’s Party of Kazakhstan (NPK) gained five seats, and the Nationwide Social Democratic Party (OSDP) earned four.

The Baitak party, representing the Kazakh Greens, was left out, having received only 2.3% of the votes.

By lowering the threshold from 7% to 5%, three new parties entered the lower house: Auyl, Respublica, and the opposition OSDP.

The early parliamentary elections on March 19 were held in the context of reforms introduced by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to bring the Central Asian nation closer to holding elections in accordance with international standards. EFE



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