Party Representatives Engage in Heated On-air Debates during Pre-election Campaign

March 3, 2023

On March 1, Qazaqstan TV channel aired debates between representatives of political parties running in the March 19 parliamentary elections.

The debates consisted of four rounds; one representative from each party participating in the elections took part in the debate:

The Amanat party - Executive Secretary Yelnur Beisenbayev;
The Auyl People's Democratic Patriotic Party - Party Deputy Chairman Zhiguli Dairabayev;
The Respublica Party - Co-chairman Syrymbek Tau;
The People's Party of Kazakhstan - Party Deputy Chairman Askhat Asylbekov;
Baitak Kazakh Green Party - Party Chairman Azamatkhan Amirtayev;
Aq Jol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan - Deputy Chairman Berik Dyusembinov;
People’s Social Democratic Party (PSDP) - Chairman of the city branch of the party Nurlan Auesbaev.

First round

Amanat Party
In the first round, Yelnur Beisenbayev of the Amanat Party said that all types of social assistance will be increased by 2.5 times.
"We will also work to lower the retirement age of those who work in harsh working conditions. We will give new opportunities to young people - we will create 1.5 million jobs, we will double the stipends for students, we will solve the issue of providing students with accommodation in hostels," he stressed.

The People's Democratic Patriotic Party Auyl
According to Zhiguli Dairabayev, if his party gets into the Mazhilis, first and foremost they will work to improve the situation of ordinary workers, the people who provide food security of the country.
"Secondly, there are 280 thousand enterprises of different forms, which work in agriculture. We want to exempt all of them from taxes, to increase the number of people who want to work in the countryside and want to do something for the prosperity of the village," he said.

The Respublica Party
Syrymbek Tau said that medium-sized businesses have been practically destroyed in the villages. "No conditions have been created for them. We will support them. People's labor is not valued in the villages. They are forced to come to the cities, work here and get 70 thousand tenge," stressed the representative of the party.
He noted that it is very important to develop the villages, as well as to support the educated youth, as they are the future of the country.

The People's Party of Kazakhstan
Asylbekov Askhat stated that the only party with ideology is PPK. According to him, the party's formula: a fair president - a strong parliament - a people's government.
"We will raise benefits for children from 13 to 70 thousand tenge, and the minimum wage from 70 to 140 thousand tenge. We support women retiring at 58 years of age. The government should provide temporary housing for young families, and mortgages should not exceed 3%," the speaker said.

Kazakhstan Green Party "Baitak".
Azamathan Amirtayev noted that the main goal of the Baitak party is to protect the environment and human health.
"People get sick, die of cancer, suffer from allergies. Who thinks about them? If every enterprise doesn't bring happiness to people, what's the point of such production?" - he questioned.
In addition, Amirtayev promised that if his party passes into parliament, the law "On Local Self-Government" will be revised.

Aq Jol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan
"Instead of real economy we are shown slides, instead of real enterprises - how much people's money goes to waste. Our goal is to fix all of this!" - said Berik Dyusembinov.
According to him, the party proposes to ensure less government involvement in the economy, as well as to provide real support to entrepreneurship.

People’s Social Democratic Party
The last speaker was Nurlan Auesbaev. He stated that such problems as provision of citizens with housing, increase of pensions, salaries and benefits could not be solved by decrease of high bank interests unless corruption was liquidated.
"Our country is being destroyed by corruption! We will get to parliament and first of all we will declare war on corruption," he assured.
The second round was devoted to questions and answers. The participants were given 4 minutes to answer their opponents.
This round was the "hottest": despite the strict prohibition to interrupt the speaker, representatives of the parties kept shouting their dissatisfaction with the answers and inserting their remarks. As a result, the anchor even had to warn that if the contestants did not comply with the order, the program would have to be interrupted.

Answer of the Amanat party
In this round the representative of PSDP Nurlan Auezbayev was the first to speak. He addressed his question to the representative of Amanat party.
"Your party has been on top for 20 years. You have financial, administrative and other resources. You "slept" for 20 years, and now you want to enter the parliament again. What do you intend to do there?" - asked Auesbayev.
In response Yelnur Beisenbayev said that most of the program adopted in 2021 has been implemented.

"First of all, we've adopted a law on the status of teachers and raised their salaries twice, raised the salaries of medical workers by 1.5 times, and raised the salaries of cultural workers and budget organizations by 1.5 times. We increased scholarships and gave 10,000 grants to students. In difficult times, you say, "We will change everything. And where were you when there was a difficult situation in Ekibastuz, Kostanai, Arys. We didn't see any of you in Maktaaral! Only now ... You can not pass to the Parliament ... You interrupt me all the time, you do not observe the order, so they do not believe you," Beisenbayev said in response.

The answer of PSDP party
No less expressive was the discussion between the representatives of Aq Jol and PSDP.
"You are making loud statements, saying that you are the opposition, we hear your slogans: "Corrupt officials to prison, opposition to the Majilis. But instead of shouting, you should have participated in the elections. But you were sitting like extras. And this time you woke up? What was the reason for this?" - Berik Duysenbinov, a representative of Aq Jol, appealed to the representative of the PSDP.

"Yes, in 2019 we could not take part in the presidential election. But then there were strict requirements, and then our candidate did not pass and recused himself. In the 2021 Mazhilis elections, we, to be honest, knew that there would not be fair elections, and we did not take part. We didn't take part in the "show" and announced a boycott of the elections," answered the chairman of the city branch of the PSDP Nurlan Auesbaev.

Answer of the PPK party
Then it was the turn of Baitak party: its representative addressed his question to the representative of PPK.
"Your leader (Yermukhamet Yertysbaev - ed.) did not come to the debate today. As far as we know, he did not come, because he does not know the Kazakh language," said Azamatkhan Amirtayev.
"Yermukhamet Yertysbayev is a real patriot. He's a statesman... He may not have spoken the language so well before, but now he speaks Kazakh, takes lessons every day morning and evening, it's true, and I help. At meetings he speaks Kazakh. You don't participate there and you don't know that. I understand you and forgive you," replied the deputy chairman of the People's Party of Kazakhstan.

Aq Jol party’s response
Syrymbek Tau from the Respublica party asked the Aq Jol party representative why they have nominated the same people for the elections of 2016, 2021 and for these elections, and why the party leadership has never changed over the past 13 years.
"We are glad the entrepreneurs are coming. When you come to the Mazhilis, you will see for yourself, there is a lot of invisible work there. Azat Peruashev introduced 500 amendments in the last two years, our party is the author of the Entrepreneurial Code. All the work done would not fit in two minutes. (...) The point is not to change the leader, though it might be right, but we don't intend to change horses at the crossroads," answered Berik Dyusembinov.

The Respublica Party’s answer
In his turn Syrymbek Tau answered the question of the representative of Auyl party about how the young and not numerous party is going to pass to the Mazhilis.
"The Respublica Party is young indeed, but we are among those parties which have nominated most of the candidates to Mazhilis and maslikhats. We gathered, the youth gathered, and we decided. We don't give any false words or empty promises because we are entrepreneurs. Until then, we were running our own business and we will continue to develop the country. We've paid over 100 billion tenge (taxes) so far, but none of us won any tenders or took money from the government. We worked on our own, we paid taxes," he replied.

A response from the Auyl party.
A representative of the Amanat party asked Dairabayev to answer how to understand the party's promise to exempt entrepreneurs working in the villages from taxes.
"You say that you will support large farmers and agrarians. We are now raising the issues of ordinary peasants. Won't you spawn new latifundists and new monopolists?" - Beisenbayev asked.
"We do not divide into large, medium and small, we generally say that everyone who is engaged in agriculture should be exempt from taxes. The situation in the villages is difficult: no roads, destroyed houses. In recent years, 1,400 villages have disappeared because of crooked policies. (...)
All three parliamentary parties are to blame, I think. If we get into parliament, we know the solutions. We will solve these problems", said Dairabayev in response.
The representative of the Baitak party, instead of a question, gave the PPK representative a twist for cans, explaining that "the ideology of the party is a political conservative".

Third round.
Each participant was given two minutes to voice three main problems, which will be solved by the party, if it will pass to the Mazhilis.

Yelnur Beisenbayev – the Amanat party:
We will create a society equal for all, where there will be the rule of law and order. We are for valuing honest work, we promise there will be no discrimination according to nationality, origin or position.
We will develop the villages, but not with populist words, but with real actions. We are preparing to give villagers loans and subsidies. This year we will return 5 million hectares to the State.

We also believe that the State language is a unifying factor. We believe that every Kazakhstani must know the Kazakh language.

Zhiguli Dairabayev – Auyl People's Democratic Patriotic Party:
Modernization of rural infrastructure, i.e. the construction of roads, drinking water supply, gasification of villages, construction of cultural facilities, establishment of communication and Internet.
Adoption of the law on food security.
Stability in the villages. The villages have been destroyed over the past 30 years because there is no stability in the villages: 19 ministers came and went, what stability can we talk about? How many wrong projects and programs were adopted by them?

Syrymbek Tau – the Respublica Party:
Education. We support educated youth. We'll equalize the difference between the education of rural children and urban ones, for this we need to create conditions for rural teachers, including the construction of houses.
We need to educate students not only in Almaty but also in other regions. Our proposal is to open universities in Semey, Petropavlovsk and Pavlodar, to relieve Almaty. If we don't put educated youth in the first place, there will be no future for the country.

To solve the problem of the lack of qualified personnel. My acquaintances, being good specialists, are forced to go abroad because of the lack of decent wages. We need to solve the issue of decent wages. It is necessary to stop the practice of selling diplomas and degrees, as it is a threat to future generations.

Asylbekov Askhat – The People's Party of Kazakhstan (PPK):
Adoption of a new labor code that will protect the rights of workers. Early retirement - at 50 and 55 years of age - for those who work in difficult and dangerous conditions. Free medicine and education.

A ban on the collection business. Provide land in the villages only to those who will work on it, and ban the latifundists (large landowners).
Solving the problems of the kandas.

Azamathan Amirtayev – Baitak Kazakhstan Green Party:
Hold the enterprises that pollute the environment accountable. For this purpose it is necessary to revise current Environmental Code.
Social Justice. The environment and society are interconnected, if the environment is polluted, human health will be harmed.
Support for the poor.

Berik Duisenbinov - Aq Jol Democratic Party of Kazakhstan:
Strengthen the powers of the Mazhilis to approve and control the state budget. Not a single proposal of deputies will pass without a conclusion of the government.

The winning parties will form the government. For 30 years, no one has been responsible for either victory or defeat of the government.
Fair trial.

Nurlan Auezbaev – People’s Social Democratic Party (PSDP):
To introduce living standards for Kazakhstanis like in Europe. So that the poorest people could live up to these standards, and it should include not only the consumer basket, but also opportunities to buy clothes, medicine, recreation, and so on.

The fight against the oligarchs.

Kazakhstan has everything, but the people of Kazakhstan live poorly. Why? Because all this is uncontrolled exported from the country. Everything should be returned to the state, there should be a control of minerals.
In the fourth round the party representatives appealed to the voters and urged them to vote for their party. All participants were given one minute for this.