Daniyal Kenzhetayuly Akhmetov (Kazakh: Дaниал Кенжетaйұлы Ахметов) (born 15 June 1954 in Pavlodar, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union) has served as the Minister of Defense and General of the Army of Kazakhstan since Prime Minister Karim Massimov appointed him on 10 January 2007. He served as Prime Minister from 13 June 2003 to 9 January 2007. Critics refer to him as "The Terminator", a nickname he gained as Governor of Pavlodar Province, for his actions in suppressing supporters of Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, the previous Governor. On 8 January 2007 he resigned. He did not say why, but President Nursultan Nazarbayev had criticized him in 2006 for overspending and other administrative errors. President Nazarbayev accepted his resignation, and immediately appointed him Acting Prime Minister.
He left office two days later when the new government took office, in which he became defense minister. He was dismissed in June 2009.
Akhmetov is an ethnic Kazakh. He has degrees in construction engineering and economics. Prior to his appointment as Prime Minister, he served as the deputy prime minister for industry, energy, transport, and communications from 2001 to 2003. He managed to push through the land reform bill that his predecessor, Imangali Tasmagambetov, is rumored to have resigned over.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev nominated Akhmetov for the Prime Ministership to a joint session of parliament on 13 June 2003. Nazarbaev gave a speech saying the prime minister needed to have experience in provincial government because the nation needed to speed up the pace of social and economic development. Akmetov was approved by 36 of 39 senators and 73 of 77 members of the Mazhilis.
Akhmetov told the parliament he wanted continuity in policy despite the change in government, and said that Kazakhstan is "building a state governed by the rule of law where everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and expression, but that everyone should work within the law." He said there should not be dissidence, only constructive dialogue and mutual understanding, and called for everyone to engage in presidential economic programs.
Petroleum law changes
Akhmetov worked to change Kazakhstan's petroleum laws despite strong opposition from foreign companies. In May 2004, he received a letter from 47 foreign oil companies, including ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Shell, the BG Group, and ENI, complaining that the proposed changes would negatively affect future investment. The companies specifically took issue with local content requirements, which were described as "unnecessarily burdensome" and that a requirement for KMG to own at least 50% of any development "may not be advisable in all circumstances."
Kazakhstan-South Korea relations
Akhmetov met with South Korean Prime Minister Han Myeong Sook on 23 September 2006 in Astana and signed several bilateral agreements enhancing economic ties. The Government of South Korea agreed to invest an additional $2 billion in joint projects in the energy, uranium-extraction, construction, transportation, and banking sectors. Akhmetov offered South Korea the option of participating in developing a new type of nuclear reactor. South Korean investors have stakes in more than 300 Kazakhstan-based companies. Han invited President Nazarbayev to visit South Korea in 2007. Han was in Kazakhstan until 24 September. She then traveled to Uzbekistan.
Akhmetov met with Rustam Minnikhanov, the Prime Minister of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, in Astana, Kazakhstan on 13 October 2006. They discussed creating a joint venture that would build helicopters, Kazakh government investment in petrochemical businesses in Tatarstan, and constructing a highway to western China that would connect St. Petersburg to Moscow, Kazan, Orenburg, Qizilorda, Shymkent, and Korgas in Xinjiang, China. Akhmetov called the proposed highway "the shortest road link between Europe and China." Iskender Muflikhanov, aide to Prime Minister Minnikhanov, said the Tatar government had "great hopes with regard to the shipping, or the assembling [in Kazakhstan] of KamAZ trucks. Work in under way on this West-South highway project in Kazakhstan and, as a rule, our KamAZ trucks are irreplaceable for projects of that magnitude."
2007 political shakeup
President Nazarbayev nominated Karim Massimov, who at the time served as Deputy Prime Minister, to succeed Daniyal Akhmetov as Prime Minister on 9 January 2007. Akhmetov resigned on 8 January without explanation. Analysts attributed Akhmetov's political downfall to the President's criticism of his administrative oversight of the economy. The Parliament confirmed the nomination on 10 January. Massimov appointed Akhmetov to Defense Minister, replacing Mukhtar Altynbayev, and appointed Aslan Musin, formerly the Minister of Economy and Budget, as Deputy Prime Minister.
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