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The opposition to nominate a single candidate for the presidential election

The opposition to nominate a single candidate for the presidential election

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Representatives of five organizations (UCP, BSDP, BCD, MFF, and BPF) held a joint press conference on January 27 where they announced the beginning of the procedure to elect a single presidential candidate.

“The opposition has united to elect a single candidate in the presidential election for the first time in 15 years — since 2005. We agreed that no matter who is elected the single candidate, we will work together to support them and will not nominate or support any other candidate,” said Chairman of the Movement For Freedom (MFF) Yurн Hubarevich.

There is a clear request in the Belarusian society for the emergence of a single candidate who would offer an alternative to the current regime’s dead-end course. The candidate’s name will be announced late this May, and they “will be the only viable and independent competitor of the today’s head of state.”

“The election of a single candidate won’t be an exclusively internal decision of the opposition — we are proposing a procedure that makes it possible for every citizen to participate and become a part of the team,” said Hubarevich.

“The goal of our campaign is to win. However, this goal is only possible if a large number of citizens join the single candidate’s campaign and the campaign to protect the right to fair elections in Belarus. We will work to involve the widest possible circle of citizens in the process of nominating a single candidate, supporting their campaign, and protecting the citizens’ choice,” said Co-Chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) party Vital Rymasheuski.

According to him, the team not only offers a personal alternative to Lukashenka represented by a single candidate, but also a programme of systemic reforms as an alternative to the current regime’s policy. Proposals for the programme will be developed and collected during the primaries, and will be used by the elected politician and their team both during and after the campaign.

“We understand that the regime is afraid of the fact that the current head of state no longer enjoys the support of the majority of Belarusians. For this reason, the regime will assign Lukashenka’s sparring partners and attempt to not register a single candidate. Therefore, a decision may be taken to carry out active boycott in case of non-registration of a single candidate or mass repressions against the campaign leadership and activists,” said Rymasheuski.

Acting Chairman of the United Civil Party (UCP) Mikalay Kazlou told about the primaries procedure. According to him, a single candidate will be elected based on the four components: voting during visits to the regions (30 points), online voting (30 points), voting at the resulting Democratic Forces Congress (30 points), with another 10 points to be distributed between the participants of the organizations arranging the procedure.

“One of the purposes of our primaries is to ensure political competition among the campaign members, equal opportunities, and fair vote count,” said Kazlou.

One can participate in the primaries both on behalf of a national organization or by confirming the availability of a team of 200 activists, told Chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (‘Hramada’) (BSDP) Ihar Barysau about the possibilities of joining the process.

Each applicant for participation must conform to the six criteria: to advocate independent Belarus and be against the dictatorship; to be committed to the protection of social and economic rights of citizens; Belarus’ withdrawal from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, termination of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, and withdrawal of foreign military installations from Belarus; the development of the Belarusian language and culture; good-neighbourly and equitable relations with the EU, USA, Russia, and any other countries. A single candidate must also consider unacceptable any interference of external forces in the internal affairs of Belarus.

Barysau said that a single candidate will sign an agreement after being elected.

Each participant contributes the equivalent of €500 for the primaries. The money will be used for travels to regions, organizing the Democratic Forces Congress, and arranging a platform for voting.

Five organizations are currently involved in the procedure for the single candidate’s election: the United Civil Party (UCP), the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (‘Hramada’) (BSDP), the Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) party, the Movement For Freedom (MFF), and the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) party. The primaries will include online voting, voting in the regions, and the Democratic Forces Congress. The campaign will end late in May.

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