MOSCOW (AP) _ Kazakstan's prime minister and the entire Cabinet in the Central Asian nation have resigned, a Russian news agency reported today.

However, the move was seen largely as a reshuffling by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled Kazakstan since it gained independence almost six years ago and periodically shakes up his Cabinet.

Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who recently underwent medical treatment in Switzerland, decided to quit for ``health reasons,'' the Interfax news agency reported.

Nazarbayev accepted the resignation of the prime minister and the Cabinet and was expected to introduce a new government soon, the report said.

The president flirted with democratic reforms in the first few years after independence. But in 1995, he dissolved parliament and pushed through a referendum that extended his term to 2000. He remains in firm control of Kazakstan, a country of 17 million people that has struggled economically despite its huge oil reserves.