President Tokayev quits Kazakhstan’s ruling Amanat party

Nur-Sultan, Apr 26 (EFE).- Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev resigned Tuesday from the ruling Amanat party, formerly known as Nur Otan, and stepped down as party chairman.

“As of today I resign from the party and step down as chairman,” the leader said at the opening of Amanat’s 23rd extraordinary congress, during which he proposed as his replacement the chairman of the Mazhilis, Kazakhstan’s lower house of parliament, Yerlan Koshanov.

Tokayev’s nomination for new party chairman was approved unanimously.

The president only replaced Nursultan Nazarbayev as party chairman on January 28, taking one of the last levers of power the leader of the nation still controlled in the Central Asian republic.

Tokayev said then that the head of state’s role is to ensure that all branches of power are accountable to the people, considering that the president should “distance himself” from the party, a status, he said, that should be enshrined in the constitution.

“In time, it is possible that by the end of this year, we will return to the issue of my position as the leader of Nur Otan,” he said during his speech in January.

He repeated this message in March in a public address in the framework of the reforms promised after last January’s unrest in the Central Asian nation.

The demonstrations, spurred by citizen discontent with economic and political elites and corruption, quickly turned into riots and were suppressed by Kazakh forces in an “anti-terrorist” operation.

The Constitutional Council has already started working on reforms to the Magna Carta.

One of the points establishes that close relatives of the president are to no longer occupy high positions in the civil service and in the quasi-public sector, as was the case of Nazarbayev’s relatives.

The Kazakh president assured that “one of the priorities is the modernization of the political sphere” of the country.

According to the president, sometimes the representatives of the state apparatus are a source of blatant injustice, believing that a constant distrust of the institutions of power has taken root in society.

“Therefore, the Amanat party faces a difficult task – to rectify this extremely unfavorable situation,” he said.

The draft amendments to the constitution also aim to create “a more balanced system of checks and balances between the branches of power.”

“New parties will emerge in the country, and the existing ones will review and readjust their activities to the current trends and the demands of the citizens. We will definitely move away from the super-presidential form of government and strengthen the authority of parliament,” Tokayev said. EFE


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