Kazakhstan president quits after three decades in power

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev shocked the nation on Tuesday by announcing his resignation after nearly 30 years in power. The Central Asian strongman, 78, had ruled Kazakhstan since before the collapse of the Soviet Union and leaves no obvious successor. His announcement came a year ahead of the country's next scheduled presidential election and amid growing frustration over falling living standards. In a broadcast address to the nation, Nazarbayev said he had decided to step down and that the chairman of the Kazakh senate would take over. "I have taken the decision to resign from the post of presidency," Nazarbayev said. "The mandate of the presidency will pass to the chairman of the senate for the remainder of my presidential term."