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Kazakhstan appoints new PM

Published: 11:26PM Wednesday January 10, 2007 Source: Reuters

Oil producer Kazakhstan on Wednesday appointed Deputy Prime Minister Karim Masimov, a technocrat who studied at a US business school, to the post of prime minister.
   
Both houses of parliament, sitting in a special joint session, voted unanimously to approve Masimov, who was nominated for the job by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
   
Senior lawmakers have said Masimov is likely to continue the policies of former Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov, who resigned unexpectedly on Monday.
   
Nazarbayev said Akhmetov would be defence minister in the new government and that Aslan Musin, economy minister in the outgoing government, would be deputy prime minister.
   
"I am sure Karim Masimov has sufficient knowledge and experience and that the new government will present a programme which will allow us to entrench and develop Kazakhstan's successes. He has a clear understanding of the plan of action to do this," Nazarbayev told parliament.
   
Kazakhstan is emerging as a major source of non-OPEC oil and international majors Chevron, Eni SpA and Shell have billions of dollars invested in energy projects there.
   
The state has been seeking a bigger role in the oil sector and investors will watch closely to see if the new prime minister continues this trend.
   
It was unclear why Akhmetov had resigned. Nazarbayev keeps a tight rein on ministers and often reshuffles senior officials to balance the clans around him.