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Administrative division

Kazakhstan is divided into 14 administrative Regions (oblysy or oblasts):

Area    Area capital
Akmola (Akmola oblysy) Astana
Aktobe (Aktobe oblysy) Aktobe
Almaty (Almaty oblysy) Taldykorgan
Atyrau (Atyra oblysy) Atyrau
West Kazakhstan (Batys Kazakhstan oblysy) Oral
Karaganda (Karaganda oblysy) Karaganda
Kostanay (Kostanay oblysy) Kostanay
Kyzylorda (Kyzylorda oblysy) Kyzylorda
Mangystau (Mangystau oblysy) Mangystau
South Kazakhstan (Ongtustik Kazakhstan oblysy) Shymkent
Pavlodar (Pavlodar oblysy)    Pavlodar
North Kazakhstan (Soltustik Kazakhstan oblysy) Petropavlov
East Kazakhstan (Shyghys Kazakhstan oblysy) Oskemen
Zhambyl (Zhambyl oblysy) Taraz

The cities of Astana and Almaty have their own administrative status and do not belong to any oblast. Each area is headed by a governor (akim), who together with his local government (akimat) rules with a high level of autonomy. The President appoints the governor.

Each administrative area, as well as the two autonomous cities, is subdivided into 167 districts (rayons). Each rayon in turn has its own akim and corresponding akimat. The district akims have been indirectly elected by district representatives since 2006 (previously they were also appointed by higher-level authority). The aul (village) akims are directly elected.