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Kazakh president consolidates power as dust settles after unrest

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has further tightened his grip on power in the aftermath of violent unrest by becoming chairman of the country's ruling Nur Otan party.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has further tightened his grip on power in the aftermath of violent unrest by becoming chairman of the country’s ruling Nur Otan party.

Tokayev’s election to the post took place at a special party congress, the presidential administration announced on Friday. Until now, Nur Otan was led by Kazakhstan‘s former president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Tokayev’s assumption of the party chairmanship appears to be the final stage in the ousting of Nazarbayev from all his remaining positions of power.

The former president, long considered the most powerful man in the country despite stepping down in 2019, was stripped of his post as head of the influential Security Council in the wake of the unrest. Tokayev also dismissed Nazarbayev’s family members from key government posts.

On Friday, Nazarbayev’s daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva – Kazakhstan‘s most powerful woman – was also expelled from the party council.

In early January, peaceful demonstrations against a sharp rise in fuel prices turned into an anti-government insurrection. The violence left more than 200 people dead.

At the time, Tokayev claimed he was the victim of an attempted coup d’état and used the chaos to carry out a purge of Nazerbayev loyalists, while Russian soldiers put down the protests and returned the country to order.

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