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Kazakhstan Reelects PM Smailov

Frankfurt, Brussels (6/4 – 75)

Alikhan Smailov was reelected Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, through a degree formalized by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, on 30March 2023.

Prime Minister Smailovwas born in 1972 in the city of Almaty (Almaty was renamed “Astana”in May 1998, as it became the new Kazakh capital).He graduated from Al-Farabi Kazakh State National University and the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research.

Between 2015 and 2018,Smailov served as Assistant to the President.

Smailovwas First Deputy Prime Minister under Askar Mamin, Kazakhstan’s former Prime Minister,from 2019-2022, while simultaneously holding the post ofFinance Minister (from September 2018 until May 2020). Following the January 2022 civil unrest, President Tokayev nominated Smailov as the new Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, with his candidacy unanimously approved by the Parliament. Since January this year, he also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the JSC “Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund”.

Alikhan Smailov was re-elected as Prime Minister of Kazakhstan by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s decree on March 30, 2023. The snap elections are seen as an important step forward for Kazakhstan’s democracy as it seeks to modernize its economy and become a leader among Central Asian countries

The reelection of Smailov is evidence that Kazakhstan is coming close to a full reset of its political regime, following the tragic events back in January 2022. While elections for the lower House of Parliament, which still exercised sweeping powers,were not scheduled until 2026during the timeof former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Tokayev was prompted to call for a snap vote and the elections was scheduled on 19 March 2023.

Seven political parties competed in the elections, the outcome cementingthe grip on power by Tokayev, allowing him to continue an urgently needed reshuffle of the ruling elite. Smailov was reelected, with 82 votes for, seven against, and eight abstentions.

Upon the reelection of Smailov,President Tokayev commended him in a speech in Parliament, adjudging hima professional and experienced specialist and hardworking functionary. Tokayev also concluded that Smailov was quite familiar with the tasks assigned to the Government.

“I have therefore decided that he can be entrusted with the Prime Minister’s post,” President Tokayev declared.

Smailov thanked the President for his support, emphasizing that as an initialstep, he would implement the President’s election manifesto and confirm the program of Amanat Party. “We will also accord proper consideration to constructive proposals of other parties and members of Parliament, the business community and citizens,” Smailov stated.

Priority has been directed to delivering five percent economic growth in the medium term, while suppressing inflation by 200%,by the end of this year.Smailov highlighted a focus on economic diversification, saturation of the Kazakh market with domestically produced goods and growth in the production of non-commodity goods with high added value.

“Among the main government’s efforts will becomprehensive measures to support entrepreneurship and revive the business climate, address pressing business issues, ensure employment and raise the real income levels of our citizens,” the Prime Minister stressed. The Kazakh Government has vowed to increase the capacity of the transport system of Kazakhstan and develop broader international corridors. According to Smailov, key areas in education and healthcare will emphasize improved efficiency and quality of public services, as well as further digitalization and the introduction of a “single state digital platform”.The Government will seek to address the tasks set by the President for the nation’s socio-economic development, improving the quality of life and the well-being of the population.