Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called a snap presidential election for November 20 on Wednesday, according to a decree issued by his office, continuing a plan he announced earlier this month.
The vote, which he is likely to win, will cut his current term but give him a longer second term after a recent constitutional reform in the oil-rich Central Asian nation cut it from five to seven year.
Analysts say holding early elections minimizes the risks of a potential deterioration of the economy and loss of public support amid geopolitical turbulence in the wider post-Soviet region.
It also gives Tokayev a head start after implementing a series of reforms, announcing an increase in the minimum wage and other subsidies, and parting ways with his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Nazarbayev, who had ruled Kazakhstan for three decades, formally handed over the reins to Tokayev in 2019 but remained a powerful figure until last January when Tokayev took over as head of the country’s security council amid violent unrest.
A number of Nazarbayev’s relatives have since lost prominent public sector jobs, and several businessmen close to him have been arrested and returned to the state hundreds of millions of dollars that authorities now say they earned illegally. .