Astana, Oct 6 (EFE).- Kazakhstan’s ruling Amanat party on Thursday declared the country’s current president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, its candidate in the early presidential elections to be held in this Central Asian country on November 20.
“Today we have made a historic decision. We must unite around Tokayev,” said Amanat chairman Yerlan Koshanov, speaking at the ruling party’s 24th congress, during which the head of state was unanimously approved as its candidate.
The leader of Amanat, formerly known as Nur Otan, stressed that other political parties in the country also support Tokayev’s bid.
“We have joined with these political groups and agreed to create a people’s coalition to support Tokayev,” he added.
The Kazakh leader, elected in June 2019 for a five-year term, called for early presidential elections on September 1.
In a message to the nation, Tokayev explained his initiative with the need for a “new mandate of public confidence” to undertake the reforms Kazakhstan needs.
Following recent constitutional amendments, the term of office of the head of state will be extended to seven years without the possibility of re-election.
The call for early presidential elections comes seven months after violent protests rocked the country, spurred by social discontent with corruption and the nation’s elite, in which the family of the first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had great influence and vast economic and political interests.
The protests, which initially erupted over the rising price of liquefied gas, turned into riots that left 240 people dead and nearly 4,600 injured, and were suppressed amid allegations of a coup attempt.
Tokayev has since emerged as an independent figure – many considered that Nazarbayev was still ruling in the shadows -, and has ousted his predecessor and his relatives from important economic and political positions. EFE