ASTANA – Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was sworn in Wednesday as president of Kazakhstan, following the resignation the previous day of Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled this Central Asian country for almost 30 years.
Tokayev, who assumed the leadership of the State in his capacity as president of the Senate, took the oath in a plenary session of both Houses of Parliament.
“I solemnly vow to serve the people of Kazakhstan, strictly comply with the Constitution, guarantee the rights and freedoms of citizens and faithfully exercise the high responsibilities of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan entrusted to me,” the new president said.
According to the Kazakh Constitution, Tokayev is to serve as head of state until April 2020, when Nazarbayev’s term was due to end.
In his inauguration speech, the 65-year-old Kazakh leader stressed that Nazarbayev’s decision to resign was “a sign of his greatness as a politician of global and historical significance.”
“The Republic of Kazakhstan owes all its achievements and successes, and in particular its sacred independence, to Nursultan Abishevich (patronym) Nazarbayev,” he added.
Tokayev recalled that his predecessor, 78, holds the influential positions of chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan and the ruling party Nur Otan, a clear message that the country would remain predictable and unchanged.
On top of that, in 2010, he was declared by the Parliament “Leader of the Nation,” a title that gives him weighty influence for life in all matters related to the country’s security and foreign and domestic policy.
“The opinion of ‘Elbasi’ (Leader of the Nation) will have priority importance in the development and adoption of measures of a strategic nature,” Tokayev said.
“I consider it essential to perpetuate the name of our great contemporary, the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, as follows: our capital must bear the name of our president and be called Nursultan,” Tokayev proposed.