Acting Kazakh president to take no part in televised debates
NUR-SULTAN. May 29 (Interfax) - Acting Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has limited his participation in the presidential election campaign and will be represented by a proxy in the televised debates on Wednesday, Presidential Advisor Yerlan Karin told Interfax.
"The president maximally limited his involvement in the campaign since the very beginning of the electoral process. The entire campaign is being carried out by his staff and proxies. The president believes that other candidates must have equal access to the media and as many electoral opportunities as possible," Karin said.
"This is why the president has decided against participating in massive events, has strictly forbidden placing of his campaign billboards, and has tasked his staff with participating in the debates," the advisor said in response to the question whether Tokayev would appear in the debates.
"It is important to the president that other candidates have more opportunities and a chance to present themselves better and to broadly convey their stance," Karin said.
"As you remember, he has personally guaranteed a free and fair election, and this is his principled stance. The president is taking part in events, which are mostly limited to his activity of the incumbent chief of state," Karin said.
Tokayev is a nominee of the Nur Otan ruling party in the presidential election.
The Kazakh Central Elections Commission has decided that election debates will be aired by the television channel Khabar on May 29.
Zhambyl Akhmetbekov, the nominee of the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan; Sadybek Tugel, the nominee of the Uly Dala Kyrandary civic movement; Amangeldy Taspikhov, the nominee of the Kazakh Federation of Trade Unions; Amirzhan Kosanov, the nominee of the Ult Tagdyry National Patriotic Movement; and Toleutai Rakhimbekov, a nominee of the Auyl party have confirmed their participation in the televised debates.
Plans of Daniya Yespayeva, the nominee of the Ak Zhol Democratic party, are yet unknown.
The early presidential election in Kazakhstan has been scheduled to take place on June 9.