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Ruling Kazakh Party Backs President's Nominee For Premier --> Karim Masimov (Courtesy Photo) January 9, 2007 -- Kazakhstan's ruling Nur-Otan party today endorsed President Nursultan Nazarbaev's choice of Karim Masimov to be the country's next prime minister.

The vote comes one day before a joint session of the Kazakh parliament is expected to consider the nomination.

The Nur-Otan party has more than 90 percent of the seats in the two houses, making Masimov's appointment
almost certain.

Lawmaker and member of the Nur-Otan party Zholshybek Amzibekov said the party would certainly back the president's choice of Masimov for prime minister when the issue comes before parliament.

"If the president is the leader of our party, if...during [presidential] elections we said that we support the president's policy, why would our faction express any different opinion [than the president's choice]?" Amzibekov said.

Quick Akhmetov Departure

Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov and his government resigned on January 8 for reasons that remain unclear.

Masimov, an ethnic Uyghur educated in China, is responsible for economic planning in the cabinet and has served as presidential adviser and as transport and communications minister. He has directed two Kazakh banks.

(Kazakhstan Today, IFX, Reuters, AFP)

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