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Kazakhstan: Opportunities for Democratic Reforms Possible with President’s Resignation
Responding to the news that President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan has announced his resignation, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“President Nazarbayev’s decision to resign is a very rare example of a voluntary transfer of power in Central Asia, and it provides Kazakhstan with the opportunity to undertake meaningful democratic reforms,” said Marc Behrendt, director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “Interim president Kassim Jomart Tokayev should start by allowing political parties to register and campaign, and encourage civil society and the media to play an active role in strengthening informed public participation in the reform process as well as the presidential election planned for December 2020.”
On March 19, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced he would resign after 30 years in power. Nazarbayev will retain control of the National Security Council and is legally protected as “Leader of the Nation” under the constitution. Political opposition is effectively banned in Kazakhstan, and media and civil society operate under heavy restrictions.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.