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Kazakh leader appoints new PM after sacking government

File photo of Nursultan Nazarbayev. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Astana, Kazakhstan Feb 25, 2019, 06.42 PM (IST)

Kazakhstan's long-ruling President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed a new prime minister on Monday, his office said, after dismissing the government over a lack of economic development.

"The head of state signed a decree appointing (Askar) Mamin prime minister of Kazakhstan," Nazarbayev's office said on its Twitter account.

Mamin, 53, has previously served as first deputy prime minister and also worked as transport and communications minister and mayor of capital Astana.

Mamin's predecessor Bakytzhan Sagintayev was sacked over what Nazarbayev described as poor economic performance, despite the Central Asian nation's vast energy resources.

Sagintayev was viewed by some analysts as part of a potential leadership transition in the country, which 78-year-old Nazarbayev has ruled over for close to three decades. 

Observers point to rising discontent in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic whose commodity-dependent economy has struggled to recover from a 2014 plunge in oil prices. 

Western sanctions against Russia, a key trading partner, also hit the economy.

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'The head of state signed a decree appointing (Askar) Mamin prime minister of Kazakhstan,' Nazarbayev's office said on its Twitter account.