After democratic candidates withdraw from the “election”, the whole world will see political bankruptcy of the Belarusian dictatorship. Zmitser Bandarenka, coordinator of the Charter’97, one of the leaders of the “European Belarus” civil campaign, thinks so.
– How do you estimate the yesterday’s session of the Political Council of the opposition parties, where a decision to delay a question of running or non-running in the oncoming “parliamentary election” till September 21 was taken?
– I think it is a half-hearted decision in the conditions when less than a month remains before September 28. Supporters of boycott were criticised for impossibility of election abstention in the conditions of early voting. The situation has changed radically today. Average 2.5 people run to one seat in election districts. If all democratic candidates, who are more than 100, withdrew, an average number would be 1.5 persons in an election district, and 80 districts would have only one candidate, a representative of the authorities. It would mean political bankruptcy of the regime of Lukashenka, as it would be absolutely senseless to make people vote early and say 70-80 per cent voted for the only candidate. Turnout under these circumstances would be impossible.
– Do statements of party candidates about necessity to use agitation via state-run media before the “parliamentary election” have sense?
– A decision of the BPF party is the most logical. Its candidates will use TV and radio to explain the fact that what is happening in the country is election farce, not election, and will call on the Belarusians to boycott. Party leaders said much about a democracy test for the Belarusian authorities. The topic of today is the same test for the party members. If we see on TV or hear on the radio that a candidate says this election is not honest and fair, if he or she calls not to attend polling stations but take to square, it will mean there a real democratic candidate. If he or she says “vote for me, I will solve all your problems”, this candidate either a lukashist or a fool.
– What will happen if the Political Council doesn’t take a decision on withdrawal of candidates?
– You know, some opposition leaders have undermined their authority for the last days. Lyaukovich – by his attitude towards political prisoner Kazulin, Kalyakin – by his approval of recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Yesterday we heard strange statements of Anatol Lyabedzka about a compromise with the authorities. it is happening against the background of Lukashenka’s words that the election process is controlled by the Security Council. It is clear, opposition candidates, who have done a great work in the conditions far from being free election, want to go till the last. It is absolutely unclear why lose a victory. Instead of having an dialog on equal footing with the authorities, because a today’s question is not in legitimating of the regime but in saving it from political collapse, some oppositionists are going to seat in pseudo-parliament as boot-lickers. The party leaders should take the decisions basing on national but no on momentary party interests, otherwise people will take them for supporters of the authorities.