Kazakhstan’s founding President Nursultan Nazarbayev had handed over the chairmanship of the country’s security council to the president on his own will, his press secretary said on Saturday.
In a press statement, Aidos Ukibay dispelled rumors that Nazarbayev has fled the country, and said he is in the capital Nur-Sultan and in direct contact with Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Ukibay said that Nazarbayev had several telephone conversations with the heads of states which are friendly to Kazakhstan and stressed that he “calls on the nation to rally around Tokayev to overcome current challenges and protect the integrity of the country.”
The president announced that he has assumed the chairmanship of the country’s security council a few days after violent protests erupted on Jan. 2 against an increase in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices.
At least 18 security personnel and 26 protesters lost their lives during the ongoing unrest, the ministry said on Thursday.
The country’s Interior Ministry on Sunday also announced that the total number of people detained in Kazakhstan since the violent protests began last week has risen to 5,135.
Source: Anadolu Agency