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PM Resignation Does not Affect Kazakhstan S&P’s Ratings

Wednesday 26 September 2012

(Standard & Poor’s) – Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that its ratings and outlook on the Republic of Kazakhstan (BBB+/Stable/A-2) are unchanged following the resignation of Prime Minister Karim Massimov on Sept. 24, 2012.

Serik Akhmetov
He has served as the Minister of Transportation in the Government of Kazakhstan since President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed him on 25 September 2006. He had previously served as Deputy Governor of Astana. He was appointed Prime Minister following the resignation of Karim Massimov on 24 September 2012.

Massimov, who has served as the prime minister since January 2007, is credited with driving economic policy and implementing the 2009 anti-crisis program. Deputy Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov has been nominated and approved as the new prime minister and Massimov has been appointed the head of the presidential administration.

In S&P’s view, the reshuffle and new cabinet appointments, which will follow Akhmetov’s appointment as prime minister, will have little impact on the effectiveness, stability, or predictability of Kazakhstan’s policymaking and political institutions. Policymaking is highly centralized with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been in power since 1991. Government reshuffles have been a frequent feature of Nazarbayev’s rule.

The reshuffle does not shed light on the eventual presidential succession. S&P view the lack of clarity surrounding the eventual transition of political power in Kazakhstan as a constraint on the sovereign rating. While the president plans to remain in office for the foreseeable future, and there are no challengers to his rule, there is no designated or accepted successor to Nazarbayev at this time. Political stability could be undermined, in S&P’s view, if Nazarbayev leaves office without designating a successor.

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