Kazakhstan could see first female presidential candidate as Ak Zhol party nominates Daniya Yespayeva

NUR-SULTAN – The Ak Zhol party nominated April 24 Daniya Yespayeva as its candidate for the June 9 presidential election. If confirmed by the Kazakhstan Central Election Commission, Yespayeva would be the first woman in Kazakh history to run for president.

Daniya Yespayeva. Photo credit: akzhol.kz.

Yespayeva, a banker from the Aktobe Region, received 49.5 percent of the party’s 190 voters in a secret ballot.

Six members of the party nominated themselves, including Yespayeva, Kazakh Union of Builders’ Head Talgat Yergaliyev (Nur-Sultan), lecturer at the East Kazakhstan State University Kuat Rakhimberdin (Oskemen), entrepreneur Asan Koshmambetov (Taraz), entrepreneur Serik Yerubayev (Atyrau) and lawyer Yevgeny Kinzel (Petropavlovsk).

In her election speech, Yespayeva spoke about the women’s rights and corruption pointing out that those punished for corruption are predominantly male.

“At the plenum there was a phrase of some of our men that (think) among the Kazakhs, a woman has never been ahead, and (they think) a woman should know her place. It really hurt me. Fifty two percent of Kazakhstan’s population are women. What is the main issue? The issue of mothers and large families. I, as a woman and a mother, can thoroughly understand this issue and find real, right solutions,” she said, as by reported sputniknews.kz.

Fifty-eight-year-old Yespayeva was born in the Zhaisan village of the Aktobe Region. She is a member of the Committee on Finance and Budget of the Kazakh Parliament’s Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament). She is a member of the Atameken Union Board in Aktobe and a member of the Coordination Council of the region. For more than 14 years, she was a member of the Committee on Family and Women Affairs at the regional akimat (administration). She was elected a deputy to the regional Maslikhat (assembly) in 2008 and 2012.

In 1982, Yespayeva graduated with honours from Almaty Accounting and Credit Technical School and in 1993, from the Kazakh State Academy of Management in Almaty with a degree in economics.

She started her career in 1982 as an economist in the Credit Department of the Aktobe Regional Department of the Soviet State Bank, having worked in the banking sector for 34 years, during 17 of which she held senior positions. In 1986-1987, she got a promotion to a senior economist at the State Bank. For the next three years, she was a senior economist at the Promstroybank’s Money Circulation Department in Aktobe. In 1992, she became the chief accountant at the Aktobe branch of Turan Bank. Later, she was promoted to a deputy director of the branch. In 1995-1997, she was chief specialist of the Credit Department, then deputy head and acting head of the department of the Alem Bank Kazakhstan. In 1998-2005, she was deputy director for corporate business at Bank Turan Alem, getting promoted to director of the Aktobe branch of the bank for the next eight years. In 2014, she became director of the Aktobe branch of Kazkommertsbank.

For her participation in the socio-political life of the region and for merits in the development of the Aktobe region’s economy, Yespayeva was awarded the Order of Qurmet (Respect) and a medal related to the 20th anniversary of the country’s independence. For her contribution to the development of the financial sector of Kazakhstan, she was awarded the Best Financier Public Medal.