Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Lukashenka rejects proposal to bring forward presidential vote

Naviny.by

Alyaksandr Lukashenka expressed on Tuesday his opposition to proposals that the next presidential election should take place in March 2015.

Speaking at a meeting with newly appointed local government officials, Mr. Lukashenka said that holding the vote eight months before the expiry of his presidential term would be a "deception of the voters." "We should not do so, much less expose ourselves to criticism where we need not to," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka revealed that such a proposal came not only from political opponents but also from his advisors who suggested that he would stand a better chance of reelection if the vote was brought forward to next March.

"We will go before the people and say openly what we have managed to do. We will do what we have failed to do. If the people wants let it vote, if it doesn't let it not. Let them elect a different person then. Everything should be honest," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka stressed that things "should take their course" even in the election year. "We should base our policy on honesty and justice," he said.

Syarhey Haydukevich, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, suggested in late August that the presidential election should be held in the spring of 2015 for the purpose of securing the highest possible voter turnout.

Mikalay Lazavik, secretary of the central election commission, replied that the commission saw no grounds for holding the election in March or April 2015.

This proposal does not run counter to regulations currently in force, but there should be good reasons for accepting it, Mr. Lazavik said. “As a rule, we conduct elections close to the latest possible date,” he said. “One poll was brought forward by a month. However, there should be a good reason for such decision, and I see none at the moment.”

The fall is a convenient time for holding elections, especially if they take place after the field work is finished, Mr. Lazavik said. “That is exactly what we intend,” he said.