MOSCOW – The Latest on the change of president in Kazakhstan (all times local):
The parliament of the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan has voted to rename the country's capital Nursultan, after the outgoing longtime leader.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev in a surprise announcement on Tuesday said he is stepping down after nearly 30 years in office. That has included the whole of Kazakhstan's time as an independent nation.
The Kazakh parliament voted on Wednesday to change the name of the capital, Astan, to Nursultan. The idea was first floated several hours earlier when parliament speaker Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was sworn in as the acting president. Nazarbayev will remain chairman of the country's security council and is expected to continue to wield considerable influence.
The wind-swept Kazakh capital is better known these days for hosting peace talks between Syria's government and the opposition.
Kazakhstan has sworn in Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as interim president a day after longtime leader Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned.
Tokayev, a career diplomat who had been senate speaker, can serve the remainder of Nazarbayev's term ahead of scheduled elections next year.
Nazarbayev surprised many by announcing in a televised address Tuesday that he would step down after nearly 30 years, making Tokyaev only the second president in the country's independent history.
Nazarbayev attended Tokayaev's inauguration Wednesday, entering to lengthy applause from assembled dignitaries before taking a seat on a podium above and behind the lectern where Tokyaev gave an address.
Nazarbayev, who Tokayev praised as "an outstanding reformer," will remain influential as chairman of the security council and head of the ruling party.