The opposition calls elections a "farce" and has not yet decided about participation

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April 22, 2016 17:45

Regional opposition is rather in favour of the boycott. In private talks leaders of the democratic forces acknowledge the lack of human resources for organization of a large-scale boycott campaign and observations at the polling stations all over the country. Moreover, no one regards this campaign as a real opportunity to win elections.

Results of opinion polls among the opposition leaders in the regions are quite interesting. Some regions, for instance, Brest and Gomel Oblasts and some district coalitions of democratic forces (Borisov of Minsk region and Orsha of Vitebsk region) stand in favour of a boycott of the campaign. Some regions lack a coordinated position in this regard (Vitebsk, Mogilev, Grodno regions). The upcoming elections are not perceived positively in any of the regions: nowhere all political agents stand in favour of participation in the campaign. Minsk region is largely undecided.

Therefore the overall trend in the regions is that they are attracted to the idea of boycotting the elections. Moreover, almost all agree that the upcoming Parliamentary elections is a farce. Within the existing political regime it is impossible to hold free elections in the country, while the “parliament” of the country, is not a truly representative and legislative body, due to the fact that all branches of power in Belarus concentrate around one person - Alexander Lukashenko.

Also, there are two different approaches towards participation/boycotting of elections. The first approach envisages participation in the campaign and withdrawal of candidates when early voting starts (with a reservation ‘unless the authorities release all political prisoners’), the second envisages explicit boycott as of end of March (unless political prisoners are released by then). The first approach is actively lobbied by activists of the BPF and the “Tell the Truth!” movement. The second is supported by the BCD members.

Moreover, in some regions, for instance in Mogilev region, democratic forces have not expressed an explicit position with regard to participation in elections and behave like “indifferent observers”. They completely lack the desire to be involved in the election campaign at any level at any stage of the process: from the collection of signatures and nomination to precinct commissions, to participation in the campaign as candidates. This stand is the most common among those who were nominated as candidates and took part in the election campaign of 2008.

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