Kazakhstan renames capital as Nur-Sultan

Kazakhstan's new President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

Astana,  Kazakhstan’s new President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Saturday signed a decree to officially rename the country’s capital Astana as Nur-Sultan.

The capital is being renamed after former President Nursultan Nazarbayev who suddenly resigned on Wednesday after almost 30 years in power, Efe news reported.

As per Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice, the change is expected to come into effect on Monday.

Tokayev proposed Astana’s renaming on Wednesday, the same day he was appointed as the new President.

The initiative was approved that same day by the Parliament in a fast-track procedure with the approval of the country’s Constitutional Council.

The decision sparked controversy as many Kazakhs felt it should be brought to a plebiscite.

Kazakh police on Friday arrested several people protesting the name change.