Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, center, attends a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Russia, April 4, 2019. (PAVEL GOLOVKIN / AP)
NUR-SULTAN - Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Tuesday secured veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev's backing to run in the June 9 snap presidential election, virtually guaranteeing Tokayev's victory.
Nazarbayev, who leads the oil-rich Central Asian nation's biggest political party, Nur Otan, asked party members at a pre-election congress on Tuesday to officially nominate Tokayev, a 65-year-old former diplomat.
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Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev arrives for a Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) at the European Council in Brussels on Oct 19, 2018. (ARIS OIKONOMOU / AFP)
Tokayev, previously speaker of the Senate, assumed the presidency last month in line with the constitution when Nazarbayev resigned after running the former Soviet republic of 18 million for almost three decades.
Tokayev then quickly called an early election to finalise what observers regard as an orchestrated transfer of power in a highly centralised political system.
Nazarbayev, 78, retains sweeping authority as head of Kazakhstan's security council and Nur Otan leader.
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