Opposition plans a referendum, doesn't know when and about what yet
"Three opposition structures - the movement " For Freedom ", the civil campaign" Tell the Truth " and the BPF – get together and report on strategic partnership. Moreover, it’s not just partnership, but cooperation and implementation of a long-term and specific political program, " Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu said officially as a representative at a press conference on May 20. He called this new partnership an "unprecedented step."
Partaking in the conference were Nyaklyaeu himself, his nearest hand Andrei Dzmitryeu, the leader of the BPF Yanukevich and Milinkevich with Yury Hubarevich of the movement "For Freedom." All were wearing ties, with white or light blue shirts. All took turns telling how much can be achieved by working together in future electoral campaigns - local, parliamentary and presidential. Over the summer, the opposition wants to drive around 30 small towns, where they will meet with their asset and others discussing the topic about current issues and making a list of those that are interested in increasing the number of Belarusians. Then they will collect signatures for a referendum on these issues, or try to collect, at the very least. They admit that the primary purpose of the "National Referendum" is to steer up the discussion.
"We call this referendum a "national referendum" in the sense that our goal is to awaken discussions in the nation, that part of the nation that wants to think about their children and live in the modern Belarusian Belarus. Awakening the discussion about what should be changed," says Milinkevich.
It's quite clear with the participation in the electoral campaigns. Candidates of the BPF, movement "For Freedom" and the "Tell the Truth" will run at the upcoming local elections as united front. The politicians promise that the program of each candidate will be combined of the two blocks of issues - national and local ones.
As for the presidential election, not everything is clear. The supporters of the idea of the "National Referendum" claim it is necessary to pick a single candidate from the united opposition. If they fail to do that, they will choose one for three. They don't know whom exactly yet. Generally, it wasn't easy to get answers to the questions from the initiators of the "National Referendum" - the journalists waited for the precise answers in vain.
It is not clear either whether they have enough strength to implement such ambitious plans. Andrei Dzmitryeu acknowledges that they have elaborated a concrete plan for the summer - to travel around the regions. However, it remains a question what they will do in autumn.
"We have some ideas how to finance the campaign. We want people to join the financial support of the campaign. After a while, we will tell about them. We need will and desire for today, for these three months."
As for expanding of the unification initiative to other opposition structures, it looks even more incomprehensible. The leaders of the mentioned three informed that they would be happy if other Belarusian opposition movements and partied join them. However, they confessed they had invited no one so far.
Euroradio asked Anatol Lyabedzka and Vital Rymasheuski to comment on this. The UCP Chairman says that the "National Referendum" remains a mystery to him.
"I am sincerely saying that the "National Referendum" for the UCP is a mystery. Therefore, it would have been at least hasty to tell we can join them."
Co-Chairman of the BCD Vital Rymasheuski says he does not exclude the participation of the Christian Democrats in the "National Referendum." However, he makes it clear that such initiatives existed before and ended in nothing:
"I don't see any concrete actions by now. In the Belarusian politics, people often make too many loud statements, they are sometimes good, but no concrete actions stand behind them."
And this was quite polite. Andrei Sannikau's loyalist Bandarenka has already called Milinkevich, Yanukevich and Nyaklyaeu "cleaners of the regime".
We'll see already in autumn whether there will be any actions behind the "National Referendum". The leaders of the three promised to set up a steering committee on its conduct. If it works out.