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Kazakhstan’s new president promises to continue policies of predecessor

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev replaces Nursultan Nazarbayev who remains a powerful figure.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev puts his hand on heart as he takes the oath of office (Alexei Filippov/AP)
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev puts his hand on heart as he takes the oath of office (Alexei Filippov/AP)

The new president of Kazakhstan has been inaugurated, promising to pursue the course of his predecessor, who had run the country since independence.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took the oath of office on Wednesday, three days after the election in which he recorded about 70% of the vote.

Mr Tokayev was acting president following the surprise resignation in March of Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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Kassym-Jomart Tokayev speaks to the media after his election win (Alexei Filippov/AP)

“It has to be recognised that, in these elections, citizens voted for the continuation of the course of the Elbasy,” said Mr Tokayev, referring to the title accorded to Mr Nazarbayev meaning “leader of the nation”.

With that title and his role as head of the national security council, Mr Nazarbayev will remain a powerful figure in Kazakhstan.

The transition comes amid rising dissent in Kazakhstan.

More than 500 people were arrested in election-day protests.

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