ASTANA – Representatives of the country’s seven political parties took part in the final pre-election debate hosted by the Khabar TV channel on March 16, concluding their election campaigns by presenting their parties’ political, social, and economic vision.
The live debate featured Azat Peruashev, chairman of the Aq Jol Democratic party, Yerlan Koshanov, chairman of the Amanat party, Zhiguli Dairabayev, deputy chairman of the Auyl People’s Democratic Patriotic party, Azamatkhan Amirtai, chairman of the Baytaq Green party, Oksana Aubakirova, member of the People’s Party of Kazakhstan, Nurlan Auesbayev, chairman of the Astana branch of the National Social Democratic party (NSDP) and Aidarbek Khojanazarov, chairman of the Respublica party.
The three-round debates lasted 70 minutes. The first round focused on each of the parties’ key initiatives.
Taking the floor, Amirtai outlined Baytaq party’s priorities, including protecting citizens’ rights and a robust economy based on public health and advanced clean production technologies.
“We are committed to protecting the health and rights of people, accelerating the cleanup of the environment, developing clean energy and manufacturing, and attracting new investments,” Amirtai said.
Khojanazarov spoke about the strong and ambitious composition of the Respublika party, “who pay billions in taxes, help other people,” and have rich agricultural experience.
“We do not need money or fame,” he said.
Aubakirova (People’s Party of Kazakhstan) covered a wide range of social challenges faced by mothers, rural residents, people with disabilities, and children with special needs. The retirement age was also among the issues she raised.
“I don’t want to work until the age of 63, and instead want to become a loving grandmother, and bring up a decent generation. All women share this common desire,” she said.
If elected, the Auyl party seeks to become the main political force in society, betting on food security and strong rural regions, said Dairabayev.
“One of the goals is to create a powerful Kazakhstan with a worthy level of people’s welfare,” he said.
Peruashev (Aq Jol Democratic party) pledged to promote a free economy and domestic producers, accelerate favorable changes and return stolen assets to the country.
Auesbayev said his National Social Democratic party advocates tackling systemic corruption and “providing social support to every citizen.”
Koshanov of the Amanat party focused on three main tasks that need to be addressed – improving living standards, corruption and injustice, and law and order.
In the second part of the first round, the parties’ representatives posed questions to each other, touching upon regional development, national security, the return of agricultural land to the people, education, wages, the problems of the Aral Sea and the shallowing of the Syrdarya River, as well as environmental protection.
The participants addressed the country’s social and economic development in the second round.
Amirtai raised environmental problems, diseases among people working at hazardous jobs, and spiritual upbringing.
The Respublica party identified three main areas: education, healthcare, and culture. In particular, Khojanazarov intends to improve the quality of rural education, expand preventive screening examinations, and develop the Kazakh language.
Aubakirova said the party is concentrating on the rights of ordinary citizens – women, children, and young families that constitute millions of hardworking people.
Dairabayev addressed rising food prices and the tough banking system, which raised concerns among the population, pledging that the party “will adopt a law on food security, restore the infrastructure of the villages, bring the industry out of the impasse, and create an agricultural bank with a 100 percent state capital.”
Peruashev pointed to the need to ensure mass entrepreneurship and allow every citizen to earn their share, reducing interest rates on loans for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Auesbayev announced proposals to bring the fight against corruption to the national level, reduce lending rates and improve the rights and freedom of every citizen.
Finally, Koshanov promised to raise social assistance, double the minimum wage, and increase the incomes of doctors and teachers, military personnel and rescuers, librarians, and cultural workers.
In the second part of the second round, the participants responded to questions from the audience.
In the third round, the participants had two minutes each to convince voters to cast ballots for their party.
The parliamentary election will take place on March 19, with seven political parties and candidates in single-member districts competing for 98 seats in the Mazhilis (lower house of parliament) and 3,415 seats in the maslikhats (local representative bodies).
Candidates finish their agitation campaigns at midnight today. Tomorrow, March 18, will be the day of silence, when any campaigning is prohibited by law.