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Kazakhstan's president announces surprise resignation

Nursultan Nazarbayev, who hired Tony Blair in 2014 to advise on how to spin the killing of 15 peaceful protesters, didn't give a specific reason for quitting

KAZAKHSTAN’S President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his resignation today after 30 years of unopposed rule.

The 78-year-old told the oil-rich nation in a televised speech that he had made the “difficult” decision to end his presidency.

Mr Nazarbayev, who hired Tony Blair in 2014 to advise him on how to spin the killing of 15 peaceful protesters, did not give a specific reason for quitting.

However, he did say it “was an honour for me to serve the people. I have worked hard to fulfil the nation’s will. I will serve you until the end of my days.”

Amnesty International summarises the country’s human rights record as follows: “Leading or participating in an unregistered organisation continues to be an offence. Trade unions and NGOs face undue restrictions.

“Torture and other ill-treatment in detention facilities persist. Journalists are subjected to politically motivated prosecutions and attacks. Women and people with disabilities continue to face discrimination.”

Despite this charge sheet, Mr Nazarbayev has been lauded abroad for modernising the country’s oil industry.

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