Nazarbayev backs Tokayev for Kazakhstan's president

Nazarbayev backs Tokayev for Kazakhstan's president

Kazakhstan's first president, leader of the Nur Otan party Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed loyalist interim successor Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as the ruling party's candidate for the June 9 snap presidential vote.

Nazarbayev asked party members at a pre-election congress today to officially nominate Tokayev: "I propose for consideration Tokayev's candidacy."

"I am sure he will be a worthy leader," Nazarbayev said of Tokayev, asking Kazakh people to support his candidacy.

Tokayev, previously speaker of the Senate, assumed the presidency last month in line with the constitution when Nazarbayev resigned.

Director of the International Issues Institute Yevgeny Bazhanov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza earlier, said that Kasym-Jomart Tokayev will continue Nazarbayev's foreign policy. "I think that since Nursultan Nazarbayev left his position, relations between Russia and Kazakhstan will not change. First of all, he nominated Kasym-Jomart Tokayev to presidential post himself. Second of all, Tokayev is a supporter of Nazarbayev's domestic and foreign policies. Tokayev was actively involved in development and implementation of this policy in all areas. Third, Tokayev is extremely experienced person. He is a Soviet diplomat," he noted.

"We worked in the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1970s, worked in China, at the embassy in Beijing. Tokayev graduated from the Diplomatic Academy, passed additional courses, joined the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan, where he proved his worth and became deputy Foreign Minister, then Foreign Minister, and then Prime Minister. Kasym-Jomart Tokayev has tremendous experience not only in the sphere of international relations, but also in the economy, in leading the country. Tokayev worked as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations - this is a terrific international experience. He knows all the world's problems," Bazhanov said of Tokayev.

"I believe he's a great leader, not only because he has excellent education and huge professional experience, but also because he worked and works in science sphere all the time. He wrote amazing thesis, wrote very serious books about international relations, about modern world, about Kazakhstan’s relations with outside world, about his experience as diplomat, as high-ranking employee of the UN. He has written more than 10 books. By the way, he wrote a book about his father Kemel Tokayev, an outstanding Kazakh writer. His family has very difficult fate, due to both Stalin period of the USSR and the Second World War, during which Kemel Tokayevich was a soldier. Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev writes books, sharing his experience, his knowledge," Yevgeny Bazhanov stated.

"I believe that we're very lucky that Kassym-Jomart Tokayev really loves Russia. He loves and knows Russia, he wants to cooperate with us. He is a citizen of Kazakhstan, head of Kazakhstan, and, of course, above all, he will defend sovereignty, independence and interests of his country, so he will work not only with Russia, but also with other important partners of Kazakhstan, including China. Kazakhstan also has excellent relations with Muslim, Turkic world, with Israel. In this sense, Kazakhstan is extremely unique, and right now it's contributing - to the best of its abilities - to improvement of relations between  Russia and the West," the Director of the International Issues Institute concluded.