President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accepted the Kazakh government’s resignation Wednesday, after declaring that the country’s leadership wouldn’t fall in the face of widening protests over surging liquefied petroleum gas prices.
Tokayev named First Deputy Prime Minster Alikhan Smailov acting prime minister, according to a statement posted on the president’s official website, while other ministers will continue to carry out their previous duties until a new government is formed. The president also declared a state of emergency in Almaty and the oil-rich Mangystau region.
The emergency will last from Wednesday to Jan. 19, according to a decree signed by Tokayev. Protesters clashed with police in Almaty, the largest city and former capital of the central Asian country, after demonstrations broke out in the western energy-producing region Sunday.
The president had agreed to lower the price of LPG used widely for cars as a cheaper alternative to gasoline, as well as for cooking and heating, to 50 tenge ($0.11) a liter in the Mangystau region, according to his Twitter feed. At the start of the year, the price for the fuel had jumped to 120 tenge a liter from about 60 tenge after the government announced a move to market pricing.