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Kazakhstan: Prime Minister Resigns

Astana, 28 January 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The prime minister of Kazakhstan has resigned and the entire government is stepping down, according to a government spokesman. A spokesman for Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev said today that under Kazakhstan's Constitution, the whole government must now resign. A new government will be named by President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Nazarbaev accepted Toqaev's resignation. Toqaev was appointed in October 1999 and there was no immediate explanation of why he quit.

News agencies quote the prime minister's spokesman, Rasul Zhumaly, as saying that Toqaev told members of the cabinet today that it is time for new people to come into the government.

The spokesman quoted the prime minister as saying that the change in government is "a perfectly normal event, considering that the presidency is strong in" Kazakhstan.