Kazakhstan has a new prime minister.
The previous PM, Karim Masimov, who had been in the post since January 2007, resigned on Monday. RFE/RL reports that he was immediately replaced by Serik Akhmetov, who had previously served as the Minister of Transport and Communications. The new government is due to be named in the next few days.
I have a colleague who keeps telling me that in many former Soviet countries, including Belarus and Russia, the position of PM is of no significance whatsoever. I agree with him, but tell him that this doesn’t mean that the country is not constitutionally semi-presidential, only that there is a ‘sham’ constitution.
This line of thinking seems to be born out by the RFE/RL report, which states that former PM Masimov has been ‘promoted’ to the president’s administration. His promotion is seen as a reward for doing a good job as PM.