NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has signed a decree allowing the capital city of Astana to be renamed Nur-Sultan in honour of the country’s founding President Nursultan Nazarbayev, akorda.kz announced March 23.
The decree reads as follows: “In accordance with Article 9 of the Law of Dec. 8, 1993 ‘On the administrative and territorial structure of the Republic of Kazakhstan,’ I decree:
- To rename the city of Astana – the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the city of Nur-Sultan – the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
- This decree comes into force on the day of its first official publication”
Tokayev has also signed amendments to the country’s Constitution.
President Tokayev suggested renaming Astana as Nur-Sultan to perpetuate the name of the First President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, March 20 immediately after he took the oath of office at the joint session of the Kazakh Parliament.
“It is necessary to immortalise the name of our great contemporary, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Our capital should bear the name of our President and be called Nur-Sultan. I would like to add that this proposal was already expressed by parliamentarians in the declaration adopted Nov. 23, 2016 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan,” he said.
The Kazakh government proposed the President hold a national referendum to amend the Constitution to rename the capital. President Tokayev submitted to the Parliament a proposal to change the name without a referendum. The Constitutional Council had a positive ruling on the proposed change. As a result, the Parliament approved the renaming of Astana to Nur-Sultan.
At the same joint session, Tokayev also proposed renaming main streets in Kazakhsatn’s regional capitals in Nazarbayev’s honour and erecting a monument in his honour in the capital. In addition to this, Tokayev proposed granting the former president the status of an honourary senator and preserving his photographs in offices, buildings and educational institutions.
The Astana Maslikhat (city assembly) also approved March 20 a proposal from President Tokayev to change the name of the capital.
Astana Akim (City Mayor) Bakhyt Sultanov said that the decision by former President Nazarbayev to resign is historic and that the city supports changing the name.
“Today, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev suggested giving Astana the name of Nursultan Nazarbayev. The city’s Akimat (administration) fully supports the proposal of the President to perpetuate our great contemporary, First President Nursultan Nazarbayev,” he said during a meeting at the Akimat (city administration) on March 20.
He said that Astana is the brainchild of Nazarbayev and the personification of the country’s socio-economic achievements over the years of independence, which demonstrates the country’s role and potential for further development.
“Nursultan Nazarbayev has always emphasised the high status of our city, which gives directions, unites the people of Kazakhstan and is the pillar of peace, harmony and prosperity in our society. Renaming Astana in his honour will emphasise the greatness of his political wisdom and historical mission for future generations of Kazakhstan. The Akimat strongly supports the idea of the new head of the state to rename the capital Nur-Sultan. We also offer you to support the initiative of President Tokayev and to take part in the creation of new opportunities for the development of our capital,” said Sultanov, addressing the city assembly.