Stanislaw Bahdankevich, who is running in the House of Representatives elections on behalf of the United Civic Party (UCP), said in a televised address to voters on Thursday that the party would boycott the vote.
To secure its "shaky stability," Belarus has to waste the assets created by past generations, jeopardize state sovereignty by begging Russia for preferences, and slide deeper into debt, said the 75-year-old Bahdankevich, who served as head of the National Bank of Belarus between 1991 and 1995.
Under Alyaksandr Lukashenka's rule, Belarus' gross foreign debt has grown from zero to $34 billion, he noted. Although the UCP has a modernization program that would thoroughly reform the Belarusian economy, it is unknown to the broad public because the party is barred from the state media in violation of the constitution, Dr. Bahdankevich said.
"The authoritarian development model imposed on the country is inefficient, and the management of the country is incompetent and unprofessional," he said.
Unsure of its popularity, the government has begun to prepare for ballot-rigging, Dr. Bahdankevich said. "A formerly well-known dictator said, 'It doesn't matter how they vote. What matters is how they count.' The authorities included no opposition representatives in election commissions. The elections are neither free nor honest. This being the case, the [United] Civic Party has launched a campaign for honest and free elections. We're all joining the boycott [campaign]," he said.
Dr. Bahdankevich is a candidate in Kalvaryyskaya Electoral District No. 104 in Minsk.