September 30, 2022
Kazakhs back sweeping reforms to end strongman's era

NUR-SULTAN (KAZAKHSTAN): Kazakhs overwhelmingly voted for sweeping constitutional changes in a referendum that marks the end of founding leader Nursultan Nazarbayev’s three-decade grip on Central Asia’s richest country, authorities announced Monday.

The amendments are aimed at decentralisation, ending “super-presidential” rule and stripping the 81-year-old Nazarbayev of his national leader status and special privileges, and preventing future nepotism by barring the president’s relatives from holding government positions.

Widespread violence in January — which grew out of peaceful protests over a spike in car fuel prices — left more than 230 people dead and prompted authorities to call in troops from a Russia-led security bloc.

The drive for a “New Kazakhstan” in the wake of the violence has come from the man that Nazarbayev hand-picked to replace him as president in 2019, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

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