Only one candidate on presidential election lists?
It is possible that there will be just one candidate on the list during the 2011 presidential election, and it will not be a representative of pro-democracy forces, the European Radio for Belarus has learned from the backstage discussions among VIPs of the Belarusian opposition. Siarhei Haidukevich, the leader of Liberal Democrats, was the first to share with our radio his observations on what unclear external forces are preparing the Belarusian society for non-alternative elections.
Siarhei Haidukevich: “There are deliberate leaks in the Internet, suggesting the names of Haidukevich, Milinkevich, Kozulin and others and forecasting the same percentage of votes for all of them. I don't know where these ratings come from, but it is done to make people reluctant to even seek candidate positions. They are trying to force everyone to believe that they have no chances whatsoever, thus pushing to say: "Let just one man stay". Even Russian internet resources are suggesting this idea. There is also similar information coming from Manayev's institute in Lithuania”.
According to Haidukevich, Alexander Lukashenka is portrayed as the only candidate at the next presidential polls.
Vintsuk Vyachorka, a deputy chairman of the Party of the Belarusian Popular Front, has also noticed that "something wrong" for the benefit of the incumbent is taking place ahead of the 2011 elections.
Vintsuk Vyachorka: “As far as since last spring, some politicians in Brussels and Warsaw have come up with a revolutionary idea (as they see it) to change the attitude towards Lukashenka similar to the one towards Azerbaijan. The idea is to overlook the actual situation with democracy and human rights and national values in our country and to make Lukashenka a pro-European independent politician”.
Alexander Lukashenka, the leader of For Freedom! movement, also mentions that he has seen numerous popularity ratings. But he says it does not affect his own plans.
Alexander Milinkevich: “I don't care much when they write that I have a low support base. In reality, the situation in the country is complicated. People feel that the crisis is imminent, despite the lies from the Belarusian state television. Everything can change in the country. Quite frankly, I am not concerned about my personal fate or personal ratings or whether I will become the president or not, although I want to be the president and will take part in the race. However, I am mostly concerned by the fate of Belarus”.
Different from some European politicians, the Popular Front will not change its position and place, either, according to Vyachorka.
Vintsuk Vyachorka: “We are convinced that it will be impossible to make a pro-independence candidate out of Lukashenka. Only the truly pro-independence and pro-democracy force like the Belarusian Popular Front can respond to the current challenges”.
Liberal Democrat Siarhei Haidukevich does not rule out that he will withdraw from the race voluntarily.
Political commentator Vital Silitski says there is nothing wrong with the low ratings of opposition leaders in the period between elections. This is just the result of an information blockade. As soon as the election campaign kicks off, everything will change for them in a positive sense. Lukashenka, too is not interested in an non-alternative election, according to the analyst.
Vital Silitski: “There will be no non-alternative election. It is very important to Lukashenka to win someone for his own domestic legitimacy. The previous experience demonstrates that he does not even eliminate contenders as it is done in Russia. During every election in Belarus, there were real presidential candidates. The point is that Lukashenka has a smooth machine of supressing candidates from one election to another”.
The analyst also advises "not to hurt" Western politicians. They will not refude from such values as human rights and the press freedom for the sake of Lukashenka. The US ambassador in Belarus will never welcome the dispersal of an opposition demonstration likw his colleague did in Azerbaijan.