Earlier in the day, Nazarbayev announced his resignation, saying that Chairman of Kazakhstan‘s Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev would be acting leader until the presidential election.

Azhdar Kurtov, a leading expert on Central Asia at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, told Sputnik that the system of governance in Kazakhstan almost ruled out any force majeure after Nazarbayev’s resignation.

“I think that the system of governance in Kazakhstan is designed in a manner that rules out any force majeure,” Kurtov said.

He stressed that all the opposition leaders who tried to counteract Nazarbayev’s policy had left Kazakhstan and lost their political resources a long time ago.

“Honestly speaking, I rule out any scenario that the opposition may come to power,” the expert said.

Kurtov also pointed out that Nazarbayev, who remains head of the country’s Security Council and leader of the Nur Otan party, would retain significant political power to influence Kazakhstan‘s political course.

“I believe it is too early to say whether the parliament‘s speaker would be his successor … However, it is not a coincidence that this position is now held by one of Nazarbayev’s closest allies and companions, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who is a diplomat, who knows very well all world‘s leaders, with whom he will have to communicate as a head of the state .

.. From this perspective, one should not expect any misunderstanding from these leaders,” the expert added.

Prof. Martha Olcott from the James Madison College, Michigan State University, echoed Kurtov saying that Kazakhstan was unlikely to revise its policy within next several years.

“In his speech President Nazarbayev made clear that he expected the younger generation to take charge in Kazakhstan, so I think that the run-up to the April 2020 presidential election will be an interesting one. And no, I don’t think that the change in leadership will have an impact on Kazakhstan‘s partnerships, at least for several years, and President Nazarbayev also reminded his citizens that as ‘first President’ he will chair the country’s National Security Council as well as Nur Otan party,” Olcott told Sputnik.

Nazarbayev, 78, held a number of senior posts in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, which was a part of the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Nazarbayev remained in power, becoming president of the independent Republic of Kazakhstan.