Friday, March 1, 2024

A New Prime Minister In Kazakhstan To Deal with The Similar Previous Issues

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — “Energetic work with out formalities, paperwork, and pointless conferences. Extra deeds, fewer phrases.”

This was how Kazakhstan’s new Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov summed up his philosophy on authorities on February 6, the identical day he was parachuted into the place from his prior position as President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev’s chief of workers.

The second sentence right here is vital: Extra deeds, fewer phrases.

As a result of in Kazakhstan, talking is for presidents, not prime ministers.

The next day, 70-year-old Toqaev spoke for greater than an hour in an deal with to an expanded session of presidency.

As he spoke, Kazakhstan’s mainstream media fired off headlines.

“Toqaev gave the federal government a 12 months to unravel issues within the development business.”

“Toqaev criticized the scenario with the roads in Kazakhstan.”

“Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev ordered a doubling of the funding for agriculture.”

“Toqaev: The Water Sources Ministry just isn’t delivering the anticipated outcomes.”

“Toqaev gave directions on tariffs for public companies.”

“Toqaev: ‘Each heating season, the identical issues’”

Most of those are previous gripes. All of them are actually the 43-year-old Bektenov’s accountability.

Whereas asking lawmakers within the president-loyal parliament for his or her assist — 69 backed his candidacy, with seven abstaining — Bektenov didn’t faux to have an unbiased policymaking imaginative and prescient.

“The pinnacle of state has supplied particular directions concerning the financial improvement of the nation, which will likely be carried out,” he stated.

However will Bektenov — Kazakhstan’s first prime minister with a legislation enforcement background — be capable of “perform” these directions any higher than his predecessor?

No. 2 Is The Loneliest Quantity

Alikhan Smaiylov grew to become Kazakh prime minister in January 2022, within the quick aftermath of the nation’s worst independence-era unrest, when at the least 238 folks had been killed.

Serving as first deputy prime minister previous to that, he changed Askar Mamin, who had been appointed by Nursultan Nazarbaev simply earlier than the then-Kazakh chief resigned presidential energy and allowed Toqaev, who was Senate chairman on the time, to step up as head of state.

At simply lower than two years and one month, Smaiylov’s was the third-shortest of the 11 accomplished premierships in Kazakhstan’s 32 years of independence.

Former Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov (file photo)

Former Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov (file photograph)

However for all that, he didn’t fall very removed from the median time afforded to a Kazakh head of presidency — two years and 5 months.

The truth is, he served within the position for the same size of time to Toqaev, who managed two years and 4 months within the position simply greater than 20 years in the past.

It’s when presidents begin grumbling about authorities efficiency — usually echoing irritations expressed by the general public — that energy begins draining from Kazakh premiers.

On this sense, Smaiylov had been a lifeless man strolling for a while.

He survived a authorities shake up after parliamentary elections final spring and extra rotations within the fall. However discuss of a brand new prime minister had continued since his first 12 months in workplace.

Assessing Smaiylov’s authorities on February 6, Toqaev was conciliatory, noting financial progress of 5.1 p.c final 12 months and a “constructive dynamic of improvement” as a “important achievement.”

However in his February 7 speech on the expanded session of presidency he known as for normal annual progress of 6 p.c within the coming years and burdened financial liberalization, modernization, and an all-government drive to drum up international funding as priorities.

Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev (file photo)

Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev (file photograph)

The issue with that, in accordance with Kazakh political analyst Dimash Alzhanov, is that Kazakhstan’s present political system leaves little area for initiative on the a part of ministers and their cupboard chief.

“Each the prime minister and the cupboard of ministers are absolutely accountable to the president. Beneath these circumstances, presidential absolutism is a critical limitation on authorities actions,” Alzhanov informed RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service.

The Smaiylov premiership may very well be seen as each “a sufferer and a consequence” of this case, Alzhanov argued.

Following a fast reshuffle, the overwhelming majority of officers from Smaiylov’s cupboard have retained their posts, with recent appointments to move the Economics, Finance, Well being, and Emergencies ministries, giving a sign of the place Toqaev is in search of quick enchancment.

A New Technology Of Officers

If Smaiylov’s dismissal had gave the impression to be within the playing cards, then Bektenov changing him proved a shock to many observers.

To make certain, chiefs of workers have grow to be premiers prior to now, and vice versa, however Bektenov has been a reasonably low-profile operator thus far.

Up till his appointment — and in contrast to a number of of his cupboard colleagues — he didn’t even have an English-language Wikipedia web page.

Praising his protege in parliament, Toqaev known as Bektenov “disciplined, sincere, and hardworking” whereas praising his “excessive group abilities” and “intensive information in economics and different areas.”

Earlier than spending 10 months as Toqaev’s chief of workers, Bektenov led the Anti-Corruption Company, a place to which he was promoted from deputy within the wake of the January 2022 unrest that left a whole bunch lifeless and introduced an finish to Nazarbaev’s domination of political life.

As proof emerged that deadly clashes in Kazakh cities had been at the least partly pushed by a high-stakes energy battle between the political camps surrounding the 2 males, Bektenov’s company was on the coronary heart of investigations concentrating on Nazarbaev allies and a number of the former president’s family.

The lawyer by coaching has additionally been on the middle of efforts to get well and repatriate billions of {dollars} of stolen property belonging to the ex-ruling clan and different Nazarbaev associates.

Having a premier who’s a lieutenant common by rank may assist whip Kazakhstan’s cupboard into form within the brief time period.

However the authorities’s financial efficiency gained’t be the one factor on Toqaev’s thoughts.

Having solely actually loved the sort of powers loved by his overbearing predecessor for the final two years, the profession diplomat is now busy recasting the elite in his personal picture.

That course of will likely be all of the extra vital to him in that he has pledged to not prolong his presidency past his present time period, which ends in 2029.

Bektenov is a part of a brand new era of officers who, whereas starting their careers below the octogenarian Nazarbaev, owe their first leadership-level positions solely to the present president.

Aybek Dadebaev was appointed to head President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev’s administration on February 6, 2024.

Aybek Dadebaev was appointed to move President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev’s administration on February 6, 2024.

His alternative as chief of workers, Aybek Dadebaev, is similar age as Bektenov and beforehand occupied lower-ranking positions in Toqaev’s administration.

Marat Nurtleu, 47, a long-time protege of Toqaev’s, is presently serving as international minister, having been chief of workers previous to Bektenov’s appointment within the spring.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Nurtleu

Kazakh Overseas Minister Marat Nurtleu

The brand new emergency conditions minister, 40-year-old Chyngis Arinov, was in the beginning of this week serving as the pinnacle of Toqaev’s presidential safety.

And Nurlan Baibazarov, the 49-year-old financial system minister — a submit that comes with the rank of deputy prime minister — is a cupboard debutant, having been moved throughout from the state-owned Baiterek monetary holding group, the place he spent only a few months in cost.

Bektenov’s age of 43 years and 56 days on the time of his appointment, by the way, makes him Kazakhstan’s youngest ever prime minister — a document that will also be prolonged to incorporate the interval when Kazakhstan was a Soviet republic.

His closest rival for that honor?

Nursultan Nazarbaev, who was about half a 12 months older than Bektenov when he was appointed chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1984.

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