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Kazakh President Tokayev announces snap presidential elections

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has announced that early presidential elections would be held in autumn, reports Kazakh news outlet ORDA.

“To successfully implement complex reforms needed to create a just Kazakhstan, there is a need for a new trust mandate from the people. The state interests are above all for me. This is why I am ready to reduce the term of my office and announce early presidential elections,” Tokayev said.

He added that new mechanisms of establishing the parliament and maslikhats (regional parliaments) in accordance with party lists and single-mandate constituencies would be introduced. According to the president, these measures will lead to an increase in the number of political parties and intensify competition.

Tokayev also proposed introducing limitations to the presidential mandate — a 7-year-long single mandate without the right to re-election, reports Kazakh outlet Vlast.

Furthermore, Tokayev announced amnesty for the participants of the January protests. “We need national unity like the air. Both the people who took part in the strike and the law enforcement agents — all of them are our citizens. They hope not only that the courts will be just but that society will be lenient [towards them],” said the president.

He noted that the amnesty would not be offered to the protest organisers as well as people accused of high treason and an attempt at a violent change of power.

At the beginning of January, mass protests erupted in Kazakhstan, the reason for which was an increase in gas prices. The protests escalated into clashes. The protesters began calling for the resignation of the government. As a result, the Kazakh government resigned, while the president imposed a state of emergency on the entire territory of the country and later began to head the Security Council of Kazakhstan, a post previously held by ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

After the protests, the country saw a reshuffle of senior positions in government agencies and big companies.

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