Registration of Mikalai Statkevich nominating group doubtful
"I hope that they will at least register the nominating group"
This is the opinion of Mikalai Statkevich's wife Maryna Adamovich. She says that the requirement to be legally clean before the law has to do with the candidate, and the registration of the nominating group of citizens will not be affected:
"In fact, it seems to me that this requirement relates to the registration of the candidate. To register nominating group of citizens collecting signatures, there is only one requirement for potential candidate - the person who plans to get nominated has to comply with the code requirements such as age, citizenship etc."
Ms Adamovich adds that she does not know "what's in the minds of these people", so she is ready for any scenario. At the moment she is busy forming a nominating group. To do this, you need to find 100 people and provide all the necessary documents to the CEC no later than July 22.
"Registration of the Statkevich nominating group is illegal"
The CEC secretary Mikalai Lazavik immediately gives a flat response: "The reason for the refusal to register the nominating group of the proposed candidate is a discrepancy with legal requirements." So, there will be no chance to legally collect signatures for the nomination of Mikalai Statkevich as a presidential candidate.
Syarhei Alfer, independent expert on election law, sides with Mr Lazavik on this. He says that otherwise the electoral code would have no logic:
"If a person cannot be registered as a presidential candidate, it is absolutely logical that you cannot register the nominating group. So this problem is solved in a brutal way - Mikalai Statkevich today is a convict, and according to the law, he has no right to run for public office."
Or will he still be registered?
Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu supports this version of events. He is actively campaigning for the opposition to jointly withdraw their candidacies in favor of Mikalai Statkevich. He believes that in this way you can break the authorities' scenario. And then anything can happen.
"The point is that it is not a fact. I've said it a hundred times. What is the sense in the proposal for all to withdraw in favor of Statkevich. All that the opposition is currently doing, has already happened five times. Now we are offered the same performance with a single actor... It is necessary to change it, to refuse to participate in the campaign. It is not clear what will happen if Lukashenka stays alone. This has never happened before," said the ex-candidate.
In any case, Mr Nyaklyayeu is ready to collect signatures for Mr Statkevich, even illegally. "It's probably the only chance for the opposition to save face. And this is not some sort of literature, drama. This is real politics," he said.
But so far no one has supported Mr Nyaklyayeu. A former ally and candidate of the Tell the Truth! campaign, Tatstsiana Karatkevich even openly stated that she was not going to waithdraw in favor of Mikalai Statkevich. We will know what others decide no later than July 22 - the last day to submit documents for registration of nominating groups.
Mikalai Statkevich was imprisoned following the events of December 19, 2010 in Independence Square in Minsk. In May 2011, he was convicted of organizing mass riots and sentenced to six years in colony. Mikalai Statkevich is to be released at the end of 2016. International and Belarusian human rights organizations believe Mr Statkevich to be political prisoner.