Kazakh lower house votes to keep in place gov’t of PM Masimov
ASTANA – Reuters
CİHAN photoKazakhstan’s lower house of parliament voted on March 25 to keep in place the government of Prime Minister Karim Masimov after a parliamentary election in which the ruling Nur Otan party retained its overwhelming majority.
The vote is a constitutional procedure which automatically follows elections. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who also leads Nur Otan, said last week he saw no need for a major government reshuffle.
Nur Otan won 82 percent of the vote in March 20 snap election that was criticized by Western observers as falling short of democratic standards.
Nazarbayev called the vote in January, apparently favoring an early election in case the economy, hit hard by the slump in the price of oil, were to worsen in the course of the year.
Masimov, 50, had run the government in 2007-2012, overseeing efforts to overcome the financial crisis triggered by the subprime mortgage meltdown in the United States.
He then served as Nazarbayev’s chief of staff but returned to lead the cabinet in 2014 as the price of oil, Kazakhstan’s main export, began to slide again.
Last September, Nazarbayev made his eldest daughter, Dariga, Masimov’s deputy.
Kazakhstan’s tenge currency lost half of its value against the dollar within a few months after the authorities last August abandoned their pegged exchange rate policy. But the tenge has edged up over the past two months in line with oil prices.