Kazakhstan’s ex-leader Nursultan Nazarbayev denies conflict with successor

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The former leader of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev denied any conflict with his successor Tuesday, in his first appearance since unrest in the Central Asian country sparked rumors of a power struggle.

“President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has full power,” Nazarbayev said in a video address, naming his hand-picked successor, adding that there is “no conflict or confrontation between elites.”

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He said that since 2019 – when he transferred power in the ex-Soviet country to Tokayev – he has been a “pensioner.”

“I am now on a well-deserved break in the capital of Kazakhstan and didn’t go anywhere,” Nazarbayev said.

Nazarbayev, 81, was first president of independent Kazakhstan and had not made any public appearances since unprecedented protests earlier this month that erupted into violence.

Much of the anger appeared directed at Nazarbayev, who had ruled Kazakhstan since 1989 before handing over power, but who was widely believed to remain in control behind the scenes.

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