He is the only leader Kazakhstan has ever known since its independence and was its first president. Now, 78-year-old Nursultan Nazarbayev has stepped down in a sudden announcement.

But although Nazarbayev has ended his almost 30-year rule, he has not given up power.

He is keeping the constitutional status of both "leader of the nation" and chief of the country's security council.

The speaker of the upper house of parliament, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has been sworn in to serve the rest of Nazarbayev's term which ends in 2020.

Does that signal a shift in this central Asian state? And how is this being viewed, regionally and globally?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan


Yevgeniy Zhovtis - Human rights activist

Alex Melikishvili - Analyst at financial risk consultancy IHS Markit

William Courtney - Former US ambassador to Kazakhstan 

Source: Al Jazeera News