New Kazakh president inaugurated, will emulate predecessor

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The new president of Kazakhstan has been inaugurated, promising to pursue the course of his predecessor, who had run the country since independence.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took the oath of office on Wednesday, three days after the election in which he recorded about 70 percent of the vote.

Tokayev was acting president following the surprise resignation in March of Nursultan Nazarbayev.

"It has to be recognized that, in these elections, citizens voted for the continuation of the course of the Elbasy," said Tokayev, referring to the title accorded to Nazarbayev meaning "leader of the nation."

With that title and his role as head of the national security council, Nazarbayev will remain a powerful figure in Kazakhstan.

The transition comes amid rising dissent in Kazakhstan. More than 500 people were arrested in election-day protests.