“The MFF intends to complete all legal procedures to obtain registration of our candidates specifically as an NGO. As explained by the MFF Chairman Yuri Hubarevich, Articles 5, 69, and 138 of the Constitution indicate that any civil organizations — not just political parties — have the right to put forward their candidates. “The Electoral Code actually deprives us of this right. However, the Constitution takes precedence over any laws or decrees. Therefore, we will check the compliance of our right to nominate candidates with the main law. Our applicants will submit complete packages of documents to election commissions, and if they are denied registration, they will appeal to higher agencies, including Belarusian courts and the UN Committee on Human Rights. We want to restore constitutional legality in Belarus and eventually unfreeze the political life in our country,” he said.
Hubarevich reminded that the previous conference was held late last year. “We decided at that conference on two main areas of our activities, which we have been consistently implementing since then. Firstly, we should participate in political campaigns by supporting our candidates, popularizing the MFF’s programme, and participating in election observation. Secondly, we should work with protest groups and train local leaders,” he said.
The politician believes that the MFF is prepared to take part in the parliamentary election this year. This is confirmed by such facts as the existence of a preliminary list of candidates for deputies who have already registered their initiative groups and are collecting signatures. Some of them are nominated as candidates with the help of partner organizations, in particular the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) party and the United Civil Party (UCP).
Participating in the parliamentary election is an important part of preparation for the presidential campaign that will take place in Belarus next year. “Today’s campaign is just the beginning. This is evidenced, among other things, by our pickets. The people are ready for change,” said Hubarevich. “If we can take certain steps and obtain support of a wide range of people, we could turn the tide. We must have dozens and hundreds of activists in each constituency, led by political and public leaders,” he added.
The MFF is going to take part in the opposition primaries to define a single presidential candidate. Hubarevich believes that none of the opposition contenders are able to independently collect 100,000 signatures today to be registered as a presidential candidate.
The politician also said that the current activities of the MFF are basically a tool that should work to achieve the main goal — to build a democratic, European, and independent Belarus. “Unfortunately, there is no such Belarus since 1994, when elections ceased to be an instrument of change of power and when Belarusians were deprived of fundamental rights and freedoms,” he said.
The MFF has adopted a special statement calling on Belarusians, in case of any attempts on the part of Russia to annex Belarus by force or through economic takeover, to stand for their country’s sovereignty and independence by all means available, which is a Constitutional requirement of Article 57: “Defending the Republic of Belarus is the obligation and sacred duty of a citizen of the Republic of Belarus.”
This statement was proposed in response to the appearance over 2019 in the Russian media of a large number of provocative statements about the possibility of annexation of Belarus in the near future. In particular, the MFF proposes that public authorities do the following in this regard: refrain from entering into an agreement on deeper economic integration with Russia, denounce immediately the agreement on the establishment of the Union State, beacon out the state border with the Russian Federation and establish international border control points along its entire perimeter, take immediate steps for the accession to the Council of Europe and entering into bilateral agreements with the Budapest Memorandum subscribers on prompt military support of Belarus in case of occupation or sabotage on the part of any state, and ensure the legitimacy of the legislative and executive power in Belarus by holding democratic parliamentary and presidential elections taking into account all OSCE critical comments and recommendations.
The MFF conference participants stress “the importance of a multi-vector and balanced foreign policy for Belarus in order to preserve the country’s sovereignty and independence, as well as compliance of the European integration with the national interests of Belarus, namely by joining the Council of Europe and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the short term and the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Union in the long term.”