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Kazakh President Appoints Olzhas Bektenov as Prime Minister

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has appointed Olzhas Bektenov, his chief of staff, as the new prime minister. Bektenov, aged 43, previously headed the state anti-corruption agency and assumed the role of presidential administration head in April 2023. The swift approval from the ruling Amanat party-dominated parliament underscores the president’s firm grip on power.

Bektenov’s Background and Predecessor’s Resignation

1. Professional Background:

  • Olzhas Bektenov served as the head of the state anti-corruption agency before his current appointment.
  • His tenure as the head of the presidential administration commenced in April 2023.

2. Predecessor’s Resignation:

  • Alikhan Smailov, the former prime minister, resigned without specifying reasons.
  • Political reshuffling is common in Kazakhstan, where presidential authority is centralized.

Political Dynamics and Presidential Dominance

1. Dominance of President Tokayev:

  • President Tokayev, aged 70, wields significant political influence in Kazakhstan.
  • The Cabinet primarily serves a technical function under his leadership.

2. Continuity in Key Positions:

  • Despite the change in the prime ministerial position, key Cabinet members such as defense, interior, and foreign ministers remain unchanged.
  • The president is anticipated to outline the priorities for the new Cabinet during a meeting with top officials.

 

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