What should Belarusians do on election day?
Should Belarusians go to the polls? / @rubanau_collage
Here's what experts say about the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Elections for the House of Representatives and local councils will be held in Belarus on 25 February 2024. Belarusian democratic forces, including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaia and Pavel Latushka, urged Belarusians to ignore the event.
Euroradio collected the opinions of political experts on the situation in the country before the elections.
No other way out
Political scientist Valer Karbalevich believes that Lukashenka's opponents have no choice but to boycott the elections.
"I would say that this is the lesser of two evils. Of course, a boycott is not very good, it does not mobilise the population and is mainly a demoralising phenomenon. But in today's conditions, the democratic forces have no alternative. It is impossible to take part in the elections, to break the scenario of the authorities. There is simply no real attempt to influence anything".
At the same time, the expert notes that if a person is forced to vote, the only real plan is to tick the "against everything" box.
"Of course, this won't affect the overall picture and won't spoil the mood of the authorities in any way, but I don't see any other way out. In fact, you can only boycott what actually exists".
If there were elections in Belarus, if the turnout and the votes were counted, the boycott would be a real instrument of influence, but now it's not quite clear how you can boycott something that doesn't exist.
Firstly, the authorities will get the turnout they want anyway, and secondly, the elections will be considered valid regardless of the number of people who turn up. That's why I want to stress that the option chosen by the Belarusian opposition is not the worst".
If we talk about other possible strategies of the democratic forces, then, according to Karbalevich, all of them will be extremely unsafe for the people who, for example, will nominate their candidates in this election.
"And what are the options? Encourage people to stand for election and take an active part in the campaign? In my opinion, any list of opposition candidates today is in fact a "firing list".