September 18, 2019 / 1:21 PM / a month ago

Kazakh president reshuffles top officials

FILE PHOTO: Kazak President Kassym Jomart Tokayev talks to member of the Politburo of the Communist party of China Yang Jiechi (not pictured) during the meeting on September 11, 2019 in Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Beijing, China. Andrea Verdelli/Pool via REUTERS

ALMATY (Reuters) - Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev replaced his chief of staff on Wednesday after less than three months in office as part of a reshuffle.

Tokayev, president since March, replaced former chief of staff Krymbek Kusherbayev, 64, with Yerlan Koshanov, 57, previously the governor of the central Karaganda region and earlier the prime minister’s chief of staff.

Kusherbayev, in turn, was named secretary of state, a position previously held by Marat Tazhin, another veteran of Kazakh politics. It was unclear what Tazhin’s new position was going to be.

The brief statements by Tokayev’s office provided no reasons for the reshuffle.

Tokayev took over as president after the surprise resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev who had run the former Soviet republic for almost three decades. Tokayev was elected full-time president in June.

Nazarbayev, 79, who backed Tokayev in the election retains sweeping powers as head of the country’s security council and leader of the ruling Nur Otan party.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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