Kazakhstan’s prime minister has been dismissed by president Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to a decree published on Thursday.

Karim Massimov (pictured), long seen as one of the most powerful figures in the oil-rich Central Asian country, was relieved of his duties as prime minister and named head of the Kazakh security services, writes Jack Farchy in Moscow.

The move comes after a rare wave of protests over new laws on land ownership and a shootout between police and gunmen in the city of Aktobe rattled Kazakhstan’s authoritarian government earlier this year.

Bakytzhan Sagintayev, currently first deputy prime minister, will take over the role on a temporary basis, according to the decree.

The move also comes as Kazakhstan’s elites jostle for position ahead of an anticipated transition of power in the country, where Mr Nazarbayev, 76, has ruled since Soviet times.

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