By Jide Afolabi, Jos
The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev has announced his resignation on Tuesday, almost 30 years after taking office.
The 78-year-old in a speech broadcast on state television said, “I have taken the decision to resign from the post of presidency”.
Nazarbayev came to power in oil-rich Kazakhstan when it was still a Soviet Republic and has previously never indicated a successor.
“The mandate of the presidency will pass to the chairman of the senate for the remainder of my presidential term,” Nazarbayev said, referring to the constitution.
The senate chair position is currently held by Nazarbayev loyalist Kassym -Jomart Tokayev , 65, a former prime minister and career diplomat. Nazarbayev’s term expires in March 2020 .
Western sanctions against Russia, a key trading partner, have hit the economy that is just recovering from the oil dip of 2014.
The resignation comes just weeks after the ageing strongman dismissed the country’s government.
Last month Nazarbayev announced a spending package of several billion dollars on social programmes and state salaries . He also promised major investments in infrastructure .
Nazarbayev became the lifelong head of the country’s security council last year and retains the constitutional position of the “Leader of the Nation”.
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