November 30, 2022

TV debates in Kazakhstan: political candidates voice their party platforms

NUR-SULTAN – The national TV station of Qazaqstan broadcast the televised debates on December 22 between representatives of the five parties participating in the elections to Mazhilis, the lower house of the Kazakh parliament, scheduled for January 10, 2021.

The main topic of the debates was national values ​​and ideology. Gaziz Kulakhmetov represented the People’s Party of Kazakhstan, the Aidos Sarym – Nur Otan Party, the National Democratic Party Dauletkerey Kapuly – Auyl (Village in Kazakh), Berik Duisenbinov – Ak Zhol (White Way) and the Maksat Tolykbai – Adal Party (Faithful ) – all have their answers.

The discussions consisted of four segments. First, on the debate stage, party representatives spoke about their party programs, outlined priorities and answered questions from hosts. Then they debated and answered questions from citizens and in the last segment everyone got a chance to address people.

Speaking first, Dauletkerey Kapuly of the National Democratic Auyl Party said defining an ideology for the future is now a priority, rather than focusing on specific social and economic issues. “Without a just national ideology, the country’s development strategy cannot be implemented,” he said.

Aidos Sarym of the Nur Otan party said big reforms are underway in Kazakhstan, which is currently going through a difficult time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The main objective of our generation is to think of future generations and to preserve our country for them, and possibly to hand over to them the leadership of an independent state. There is no better dream than this, ”he said.

He also stressed the importance of having a strong state.

“Only a strong state can implement great reforms. Only a strong state will pass the great test. (…) Our party has changed and improved. And now we also have to change the state, ”Sarym said.

Berik Duisenbinov of the Ak Zhol party stressed the importance of sovereignty and independence.

“We shouldn’t be lagging behind other countries. Our citizens must be educated, rich and strong. Economic independence has the potential to become the national idea of ​​the country, ”said Duisenbinov.

He suggested strengthening parliament, ensuring that state bodies are accountable to the public, including the revenues of national and quasi-state enterprises in the state budget, and decriminalizing economic crimes. .

Gaziz Kulakhmetov of the National Party of Kazakhstan said the country’s education and health system requires major reforms. The number of public programs should be reduced, he added.

“The tax burden should first fall on the rich. The state apparatus must be reformed. The number of government officials should be reduced, ”he said, listing his party’s priorities.

Maksat Tolykbai of the Adal Party referred to the increase in the number of unemployed youth in rural areas as one of the problems his party seeks to address.

“They want to do business, but they don’t have the money. The state is expected to increase subsidies to two or three million tenge (US $ 4,730-7,095). The interest rate for entrepreneurs should be reduced to six percent and the loan unsecured. Any bank would give five million tenge (US $ 11,824) to organize a wedding, but when it comes to opening a business and asking for 10 million tenge (US $ 23,649), they require a guarantee. Tolykbai said.

Yerlan Madiyev, expert at the Kazakhstan Institute of World Economy and Politics, noted the informal setting of the debates and the participation of representatives of parties from the non-governmental sector, which was unusual for Kazakhstan in previous years.

“Last but not least, there was a very honest and open dialogue, but constructive. These aspects reflect the qualitative changes in partisan competition in the country, which resulted from this year’s process of recharging the partisan and political landscape of the country. Party candidate lists have been renewed, approaches to campaigning and working with voters have changed and political parties are ready to raise the most pressing issues on the country’s agenda, ”Madiyev told the Astana Times.

The Mazhilis and Maslikhats elections will take place on January 10 of next year. The nomination process lasted from November 10 to 30, while the political campaign began on December 10 and continues until January 9.

Central Election Commission of Kazakhstan registered five political parties and confirmed all party lists that meet the requirements of the Kazakh constitution. There are a total of 312 candidates from five political parties, of which 113 are from the People’s Party of Kazakhstan, the ruling Nur Otan party – 126, Auyl (Village) – 19, Ak Zhol (White Path) – 38, and Adal ( Honest) – 16. The People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan also appointed nine candidates.

The parties will appear on a ballot in that order based on a draw.