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Kazakhstan's prime minister unexpectedly resigns, government dissolution to follow

The prime minister of Kazakhstan has unexpectedly announced his resignation, a development that will lead to the dissolution of the government.

The Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency on Wednesday cited Serik Akhmetov, 55, as telling a government meeting that his resignation had been accepted by the president, who holds the power in the oil-rich Central Asian nation.

It was not immediately clear what lay behind the decision, but it will likely spark renewed speculation about the succession to the presidency. Kazakhstan has for over two decades been ruled by 73-year-old former Soviet party boss Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Akhmetov has headed the government since 2012, taking over from Karimov Masimov, who went on to take an influential post as head of the presidential administration.

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