Kazakhstan’s parliament approves Olzhas Bektenov as new prime minister

Astana, Feb 6 (EFE).- Kazakhstan’s Parliament ratified the appointment of Olzhas Bektenov as the country’s new Prime Minister on Tuesday, following a proposal by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Bektenov, who served as head of the Presidential Administration, replaces Alikhan Smailov, whose cabinet resigned en masse on Monday after two years in office to facilitate liberal economic reforms in Central Asia’s largest economy.

The new Prime Minister, who has led the presidential cabinet since April 2023, also chaired the anti-corruption agency.

Tokayev proposed Bektenov’s candidacy during Tuesday’s session of the Mazhilis, the lower house of the Kazakh Parliament, where it received support from the ruling Amanat party, which holds a majority in the legislature.

Sixty-nine deputies voted in favor of the Prime Minister’s candidacy, while seven abstained.

“Decisive and courageous decisions aimed at stimulating the diversification of the economy for the benefit of our people must be made. We need to adapt to new realities. We must be able to face new challenges,” Tokayev said during the parliamentary session.

Despite criticism, Tokayev maintained that the outgoing government ensured the country’s stability in all areas, including the economy, as the gross domestic product grew by 5.1% in 2023.

Political scientist Talgat Kaliev told EFE that Bektenov’s lack of previous government work is advantageous, as it “frees him from the stereotypes that plagued all his predecessors.”

Meanwhile, his colleague Dosim Satpayev highlighted that the central government can guarantee what investors demand, namely fighting corruption, political stability, and a stable and transparent tax policy.

However, the government must resort to the Prosecutor’s Office to enforce order in the regions where investors do encounter problems.

In a recent meeting with Italian businessmen, Tokayev said, “Kazakhstan will soon undertake deep and significant reforms that will make our economy more transparent, stable, and dynamic.”

The president added that the goal of the reforms was to achieve economic development in line with the norms and mechanisms of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), thereby opening Kazakhstan to foreign investments. EFE


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