Nazarbayev Is Giving Up Presidency, Not Power, in Kazakhstan

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The long-time autocrat’s shock resignation kicks off an opaque succession process.

ASTANA, Kazakhstan—Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first and only president, resigned on Tuesday, ending his nearly 30-year reign and setting the stage for an opaque succession process in the oil-rich Central Asian country of 18 million people.
 
In a lengthy speech that Nazarbayev delivered in a prerecorded televised address to the country that reflected on his lengthy tenure in office, the 78-year-old president said that the decision to step aside had “not been simple.”

“We put Kazakhstan on the…

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