Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Opposition will hold informal referendum on trust in Lukashenko

Why to boycott the elections, how to track falsifications, what to expect from new People's Assemblies, and is there a unity in the opposition's ranks?

In an interview to UDF.BY the politician and one of the autumn People's Assemblies organizers Viktor Ivashkevich shares the plans for active non-participation in the "imitation of elections".

- Viktor, please tell us more about the campaign "For Fair Elections". In which order observers of polling stations will be registered?

- Observers will be registered by collecting signatures or by the nomination from political parties. This week we will announce in the media the contact phone numbers by which one can sign up for the volunteers and find out all the details. And we will teach people.

- Is it appropriate to use observers? In fact, during the presidential election, for example, the procedure was held in such a way, that they actually couldn't control the counting of votes.

In the boycott situation it's much easier to observe. After all, one only need to track the attendance: whether the official data and the actual number of voters will match. But not to look into a ballot, what the committees chairmen crossed off there.

- You told BelaPAN, that you also planned the mass People's Assemblies. What do you expect from it?

- First of all I want to say, that the law during the election campaign guarantees the right of citizens groups to assemble and discuss candidates and also to agitate for boycott. And during the campaign we will use it.

But already on the results of the boycott campaign the change in moods of masses on a more decisive one is possible. And then we will hold people's assemblies, demanding the real fair elections as in the parliament and the president's ones as well.

- Will these assemblies be more successful than the autumn ones? Maybe you've made some conclusions based on that experience?

- Yes, we've drawn conclusions. We need to attract more people and to inform the public better. I think we are doing in a more correct way, starting the information campaign not a month before the elections, but in six months. Therefore, we expect better effect compared with the last year.

- What is the main purpose of the boycott? Informational?

- The goal is, that by the elections boycott people will demonstrate their attitude towards the regime. In fact, it's an informal referendum on distrust Lukashenko. After all, everyone who doesn't go to elections, in this way expresses distrust the authorities. And when people mostly ignores this event of the authorities, it will be the first step to shift to further actions on the pressure on dictatorship.

- Do you think it realistic to achieve the attendance below 50%, so that elections won't be held?

- If we're talking about probabilities, I'll better say like this: the probability of the boycott's success is thousands times higher, than the probability that some oppositionist will be able to get into "a house".

- With whom of political partners you've been negotiating about the boycott?

- Prior to our statement, this decision was made by the "Belarusian Christian Democracy". Leadership of the UCP made similar decision. In our committees there are people from these parties, who will conduct explanatory activities among their own party members.

There are representatives of the Belarusian Popular Front and other parties who undertook to hand down this position to their colleagues, in order to discuss it in their conferences and to take appropriate actions. I want to note, that none opposition party hasn't declared yet, that it is going to take part in the elections. But there are those, who have expressed support for the boycott, and there are those, who haven't taken any decision yet. It's likely, the latter will also join us.

- Is it possible, that someone will support the campaign, but someone will anyway take part in elections? Do you count on the opposition's unity on this issue?

- Yes, I hope so. One also need to understand, that if some individuals from some parties for their personal interests will go to this elections - it's not the evidence of absence of the opposition unity. After all, these people were, are and always will be.

As UDF.BY wrote before, on January 15 the Coordinating Council for holding the People's Assemblies announced the start of the active boycott of "imitation of elections" in the "puppet-like" House of Representatives".

Besides the boycott, the organizers plan also includes the nationwide campaign of large-scale observation "For Fair Elections" in order to detect fraud and to hold new mass People's Assemblies.