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Kazakhstan's prime minister resigns

Kazakhstan's longest-serving and well respected prime minister has resigned from his position. The figurehead will now head the president's administration.

Kazakhstan's prime minister resigned on Monday to take up a different political post, after serving in his prime ministerial position for five years and navigating his country through a financial crisis.

Karim Masimov's resignation from his top political job in Kazakhstan, which is the world's largest landlocked nation and the second-largest ex-Soviet oil producer after Russia, was accepted by presidential decree on Monday. Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, then appointed Masimov to head his powerful presidential administration instead.

As president, Nazarbayev has always retained ultimate power in the country, but Masimov had been perceived to have carved out influence and respect for himself in the area of economic policy as prime minister. The 47-year-old made history as the longest-serving head of government in Kazakhstan's history. A Nazarbayev loyalist, Masimov was highly regarded in the international investor community and is fluent in several languages.

sej/mz (AP, AFP, Reuters)