Policy Memos

Resolving Kazakhstan’s Unlikely Succession Crisis

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Conventional logic would suggest that a president who has been in power since 1991, has just been awarded another four-year term by winning over 95 percent of the vote, and is not held accountable to any term limits would likely not be characterized as a “lame duck.” Yet that seems to be what is happening in Kazakhstan today. Although Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country’s first and only president since independence, has ruled Kazakhstan for over twenty years, remains vastly popular, and could potentially continue to rule the country for many years to come, the people of Kazakhstan have become almost obsessed with the question of who should inherit the mantle of power from him. As a result, an unlikely succession crisis is developing in Kazakhstan despite the fact there are no signs that a transition in leadership is imminent. [...]

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About the author

Associate Professor, Director of the International Development Studies Program
George Washington University