Almaty, 11 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A top government official and long-time supporter of President Nursultan Nazarbaev today strongly criticized the Kazakh leader and urged him to resign.
Zamanbek Nurkadilov, chairman of the Emergencies Agency, made the remarks at a press conference where he released a 10-page statement addressed to Nazarbaev.
Nurkadilov accused Nazarbaev of abuse of power, bribery, ethics violations, and falsifying elections. His letter said it would be best if Nazarbaev immediately resigned.
Nurkadilov's letter expressed regret for being in the past what he called a "marionette" for the president. Nurkadilov -- a former mayor of Almaty and governor of Almaty reion -- said he "involuntarily was part of actions that have killed the buds of real democracy" in Kazakhstan.
Nazarbaev's office did not immediately comment. The president was twice elected in internationally criticized votes and once had his term extended through a referendum. He is expected to seek another seven-year term in the next presidential election in 2006.