Lyabedzka: We get elected, Lukashenka appoints himself!
Anatol Lyabedzka has been the leader of the United Civil Party since 2000. The leader is re-elected every two years. It means that Lyabedzka has been heading the party for 7 terms! Party members have no reason to aspire to take his position now, the politician confessed.
Anatol Lyabedzka: “If it is not a pro-government party, it means that you and your relatives will face much more problems, risk and threats than gain benefits if you are the leader.”
102 out of 127 delegates voted for Lyabedzka – 80.3%. Alyaksandr Lukashenka scored fewer votes at the election in 2010 – 79.65%. However, the UCP leader was indignant at the comparison.
Anatol Lyabedzka: “How can one see no difference in being elected and appointing everyone including yourself like Lukashenka does?! Sorry, I cannot help you – how can I explain it? I can only stress that if the elections in Belarus were as free and fair as in the UCP, the country would have become a different state long ago.”
If Lukashenka had won such a fair election, he would have been the first person to congratulate him, Lyabedzka said. It does not matter how long the person able to win a fair election is in power, the politician thinks. And it does not matter whether he is the President or a party leader.
Syarhei Kalyakin’s length of service is the same as Lukashenka’s – he headed Fair World in 1994. The party used to be called the Belarusian Party of Communists. The politician does not see any moral or ethical problems about being the party leader for so long.
Syarhei Kalyakin: “Electing the party leader, especially if it is an opposition party, is up to its members! If they think that he is doing a good job, he can stay in the position for a long time.”
On the contrary, it would be bad if the party leader left the position and ignored the members’ opinion. Furthermore, there are… no people wishing to take the position!
Syarhei Kalyakin: “What will you get for it? The special services will be interested in you and your relatives, you will have to be responsible for your people. It stops wise people. They understand that the leadership imposes a lot of responsibility and duties that have to be fulfilled every day.”
Leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party Syarhei Haidukevich has been in the position since 1995. There are a lot of people wishing to take his position in the party, he assured. But they understand that the LDPB will not be a party without Haidukevich…
Syarhei Haidukevich: “I have never tried to stay in the position forever! But people look into the future, they look at the leader before presidential and parliamentary elections and analyze whether he should be replaced or not.”
Haidukevich cannot betray people’s trust. It would be silly to limit the term of leadership for party leaders, he assured.
They won’t let him leave, leader of the movement For Freedom Alyaksandr Milinkevich complained. He headed the movement in 2005.
Alyaksandr Milinkevich: “The younger members of the Movement would not like me to leave now. But I think that fresh blood is essential. I will not stay in the position forever and my main task is to prepare such young members who would be able to become leaders in the future.”
Nevertheless, Milinkevich shares his colleagues’ opinion: if the party members trust their leader and want him to stay, the term of leadership should not matter.
A full interview with Anatol Lyabedzka will be coming on Euroradio’s website soon.
Photo: Zmitser Lukashuk, Anatol Lyabedzka’s archive.