Wednesday, 30 January 2002

KAZAKHSTAN'S PRIME MINISTER STEPS DOWN

Published in Field Reports

By Marat Yermukanov, Kazakhstan (1/30/2002 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Addressing parliamentarian deputies on January 28, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Kasymjomart Tokayev announced that he resigns from his post with presidential approval. A career diplomat educated at the International Relations Institute in Moscow, one of the most prestigious educational establishments of the Soviet Union, Tokayev had been in diplomatic service in China immediately prior to Kazakhstan's independence. He was recalled to his native country and appointed deputy foreign minister.

Addressing parliamentarian deputies on January 28, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Kasymjomart Tokayev announced that he resigns from his post with presidential approval. A career diplomat educated at the International Relations Institute in Moscow, one of the most prestigious educational establishments of the Soviet Union, Tokayev had been in diplomatic service in China immediately prior to Kazakhstan's independence. He was recalled to his native country and appointed deputy foreign minister. In 1999 he became Prime Minister.

At that time Kazakhstan found itself in dire need of financial sources, and Tokayev used all his diplomatic skills to negotiate investments with foreign oil companies. It is generally recognized that his efforts to draw investment brought immediate results. In the two years of his tenure as Prime Minister, economic growth reached 23%. The country, according to official reports, has repaid all its foreign debts. The beginning of this year was marked by a slight increase in the salaries of public employees and pensions.

But some commentators from the opposition's ranks are more inclined to link all these signs of economic recovery to the favorable climate in world  oil markets, and not to the personal abilities of the 48 year-old Prime Minister. Quite to the contrary, the former soft-spoken diplomat, a fluent speaker of Chinese, English and French, is widely considered to be incompetent in economic matters. He also keeps away from political factions and the intrigues of financial oligarchs. This attitude earned him a reputation of being a single honest man in a hopelessly corrupted government.

Tokayev's decision to step down hardly surprised anyone. It has been rumored for quite a long time. What really surprised the public is why it did not happen earlier. Just on New Year's Eve, some key deputy ministers responsible for the economy left the cabinet to form an oppositional movement, 'Democratic Choice of Kazakstan'. This unprecedented step demonstrated the inability of Tokayev to handle the political situation. To all appearances, his decision to leave his post was prompted by the president, who has however never shown the slightest dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister.

The same day, speaking in parliament, President Nursultan Nazarbayev named a new prime minister, 45 year-old Imangali Tasmaganbetov. Deputies unanimously voted for the presidential nominee. According to the Constitution of Kazakhstan, all government members had to quit their posts following the Prime Minister's resignation, and a new government was to be formed within ten days. The former Prime Minister said he will take up his diplomatic career again. "I feel time has come to allow people with new visions and a modern mindset take my place", he said in his farewell speech.

It is hard, however, to brand Imangali Tasmaganbetov as a liberal. He started  his political career as the leader of the Komsomol (Young Communist League) of Kazakhstan in the early 1980s and rose to be the governor of the oil-rich Atyrau region. He is a typical functionary of the old administrative schooling. But in his new position as Prime Minister, he will have to tackle problems which will require not only the ability to govern, but also to show resilience in changing political realities.

Marat Yermukanov, Kazakhstan

Read 4227 times

Visit also

silkroad

AFPC

isdp

turkeyanalyst

Staff Publications

Screen Shot 2023-05-08 at 10.32.15 AMSilk Road Paper S. Frederick Starr, U.S. Policy in Central Asia through Central Asian Eyes, May 2023.


Analysis Svante E. Cornell, "Promise and Peril in the Caucasus," AFPC Insights, March 30, 2023.

Oped S. Frederick Starr, Putin's War In Ukraine and the Crimean War), 19fourtyfive, January 2, 2023

Oped S. Frederick Starr, Russia Needs Its Own Charles de Gaulle,  Foreign Policy, July 21, 2022.

2206-StarrSilk Road Paper S. Frederick Starr, Rethinking Greater Central Asia: American and Western Stakes in the Region and How to Advance Them, June 2022 

Oped Svante E. Cornell & Albert Barro, With referendum, Kazakh President pushes for reforms, Euractiv, June 3, 2022.

Oped Svante E. Cornell Russia's Southern Neighbors Take a Stand, The Hill, May 6, 2022.

Silk Road Paper Johan Engvall, Between Bandits and Bureaucrats: 30 Years of Parliamentary Development in Kyrgyzstan, January 2022.  

Oped Svante E. Cornell, No, The War in Ukraine is not about NATO, The Hill, March 9, 2022.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, Kazakhstan’s Crisis Calls for a Central Asia Policy Reboot, The National Interest, January 34, 2022.

StronguniquecoverBook S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell, Strong and Unique: Three Decades of U.S.-Kazakhstan Partnership, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, December 2021.  

Silk Road Paper Svante E. Cornell, S. Frederick Starr & Albert Barro, Political and Economic Reforms in Kazakhstan Under President Tokayev, November 2021.

The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.

Newsletter

Sign up for upcoming events, latest news and articles from the CACI Analyst

Newsletter