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Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Reform Speech Gets Mixed Reception

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev meets with members of the state commission on the redistribution of powers on January 24. The Kazakh leader says the era of a strong presidential system has run its course. (Photo: Kazakhstani Presidential Press Service)

Officials in Kazakhstan, by issuing an unexpected and urgent press release about an imminent televised address by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, unleashed a squall of chatter. But not all the talk about the contents of the January 24 address may be to authorities’ liking.
 
In the hours leading up to the televised address, some speculated online that the 76-year old leader, who has ruled his country for more than a quarter of a century, might announce his retirement. Cooler heads suggested — and were proven right — that Nazarbayev, known popularly by his officially endorsed honorific of Yelbasy (“Leader of the Nation”), would unveil plans to revamp the constitution.
 
If members of the presidential administration were expecting an outbreak of enthusiasm over the address, they may be disappointed by the tepid reaction on social media.
 

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Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev Reform Speech Gets Mixed Reception

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