Kazakhstan’s first president Nazarbayev tests positive for COVID-19

 

The first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who stepped down from the position last year after nearly three decades in power, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

A statement on his official website made the announcement on Thursday.

“Currently, the First President of Kazakhstan is in self-isolation. Unfortunately, the last test… for the coronavirus infection showed a positive result. There is no cause for concern,” the statement said.

The statement said that Nazarbayev is “continuing to work remotely.”

Nazarbayev, who turns 80 next month, served as Kazakhstan’s president for close to three decades before handing the reins over to hand-picked successor Kassym-Jomart Tokayev last year.

He retains a number of powerful positions in the authoritarian Central Asian country including the chairmanships of the national security council and the ruling party.

He is also constitutionally honoured as the “Leader of the Nation” — a designation that provides him with unique policymaking privileges.

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