NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan’s President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev was inaugurated in the country’s capital Nur-Sultan on 12 June, just three days after the Central Asian energy giant’s 18 million citizens went to the polls for the first time to select a successor to long-time President Nursultan Nazarabyev.

In a ceremony attended by Nazarabyev and members of the parliament, Tokayev said in his first address that he intends to focus on solving social problems, closing the gap between the wealth gap, eradicate corruption and the establishment of an open dialogue between the government and the people.

“The destabilisation of the international financial market and the devaluation of the (national currency) tenge has negatively affected the incomes of the country’s population. More than a million of our citizens were forced to take loans from banks. One of the most important problems in our society is the gap between the incomes of different population groups and we need medium-term measures to solve this problem,” Tokayev said. “Economic growth is needed so that our citizens can live in peace, work, raise children, and be proud of our achievements,” the president said.

The new president intends to focus on eradicating corruption through a package of reforms to “minimise the level of corruption”, which Tokayev called “a disease, a phenomenon that threatens the mutual trust and security of the state”.