Natalia Nikitenko: Are people ready to spend 317 mln soms on referendum amid budget deficit?
“Are people ready to spend 317 million soms on a referendum amid budget deficit?” – deputy Natalia Nikitenko (Ata Meken) wondered at today’s session of the Parliament during the debate in the first reading of a draft law on a referendum to change of the Constitution.
“The initiators constantly say “people know, people agree,” but I wonder: how did you get such a conclusion? Have you held parliamentary hearings in each region? Or do you mean those 300 people who came to the round table? So it is your lawyers, experts,” the deputy said. Kanybek Imanaliev supported her and also wondered if it’s right that the decision was made by 300 people only.
Natalia Nikitenko continued that when she asks ordinary citizens questions about the Constitution, they don’t know the essence of the amendments. “And I have a question for the representatives of the government, who for a weekend estimated how much would cost the referendum. It would be great if you were so fast on other issues,” she said.
In response to her question, Deputy Finance Minister Almaz Azimov said that, according to calculations of the department, the vote on December 4 will require 317 million soms. “And have you asked the people whether they are ready to spend 317 million in terms of the budget deficit?” Natalia Nikitenko reproached members of the Cabinet. “We have been working on this issue jointly with the CEC and the State Registration Service, counting all the options. And given that the local elections of the Central Election Commission has already been allocated 235 million soms, then to unite these elections and the referendum an additional 104 million soms will be required,” Almaz Azimov concluded.
In conclusion, Natalia Nikitenko asked the rapporteur – the leader of the coalition Kanat Isayev – to submit a copy of the request on the bill to the Constitutional Chamber along with the decision to establish an expert group, which worked on the document.