Kazakhstan limits Presidential term, renames capital

Nur-sultan (AFP): Kazakhstan’s president on Saturday signed a law limiting presidential terms and reverting to the old name of the Central Asian country’s capital, in the latest step of breaking with the legacy of his predecessor.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a bill limiting presidential mandates to a single seven-year term, a day after parliament approved the measure.

The bill also reinstated the capital’s name to Astana. The name was changed to Nur-sultan in March 2019, in honour of outgoing president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The change is effective immediately, according to a decree on the presidential website.

Tokayev took over from Nazarbayev in 2019 and has gradually distanced himself from the man who had ruled the energy-rich nation with an iron fist for three decades.

Tokayev has launched reforms and called for “completely new standards for a political system with fair and open rules of the game”.

In January, riots erupted in the country, eventually leaving more than 200 people dead.

Tokayev has called for snap presidential elections this autumn — though there is no confirmed date yet.