Kazakhstan's newly sworn-in President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has proposed renaming the country's capital in honour of former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, a day after the longtime ruler's shock resignation.
"I propose ... naming the country's capital Astana in honour of the first president," Tokayev said on Wednesday, suggesting the new name be "Nursultan".
"The opinion of [Nazarbayev] will be of special, one can say priority, importance in the development and adoption of strategic decisions," the new leader added.
This isuuee was not put on a referendum. it was reffered to parliament at once.
Nazarbayev, whom Tokayev praised as "an outstanding reformer", will remain influential as chairman of the Security Council and head of the ruling party.
Astana replaced Almaty as the capital in 1997 and boomed from a minor provincial steppe town into a futuristic city.
The name Astana literally means "capital" in Kazakh and there has long been speculation it could, at some point, be renamed after the leader who shaped it.
Nazarbayev's decades at the helm transformed Kazakhstan into an energy powerhouse but he governed with little tolerance for opposition.
Nazarbayev's resignation is not expected to fundamentally alter Kazakhstan's authoritarian system, which rights groups say leaves little space for political competition, civil society, and free media.