Russia to evaluate elections in Belarus maximally rigorously
The creation of territorial election commissions comes to an end in Belarus today.
As the Russian "Nezavismaya gazeta" writes, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has been the leader for 16 years already, when he talked to journalists on Friday, stated that like for no one else, it is beneficial for him for the elections to be held fairly and transparently, otherwise he would have to blush in front of the entire world for the next 5 years. Such slips of the tongue leave no doubt that Lukashenka hopes to observe the veneer of democracy, but to stay in power. This election is made more difficult as in case there would be no positive evaluation of the OSCE, Lukashenka cannot expect legitimacy. The position of the Russian leadership, who has stated their intention to observe the election together with the OSCE, leaves no doubts that the recent ally would approach the issue of elections evaluation most rigorously.
Speculating upon the chances of Lukashenka’s fair victory, local observers do not deny such a possibility. In order for a voter to have a choice, freedom and democracy should be present not only in the period of the election campaign. Politicians should have a possibility to make a name for themselves freely and gain support of the public, and the society – to have maximum information about the events in the country. At the same time there are virtually no independent mass media in Belarus, it is next to impossible to register a new political party, to hold conventions and meetings of supporters. The state machine, which is smoothly running after the last 16 years of Lukashenka’s rule, puts citizens off withstanding the current regime even at the stage when such an idea occurs, as 90% of working places in the country are at state-run enterprises, and any careless word can leave a person without a job, and make search for a new job hopeless. Future possible Lukashenka’s contenders have not even started campaigning, and the time on air in the country is full of negative information about them, and stories about success of the current regime. Despite of the recommendations of international financial experts, since November 1 Belarus increased minimal salary by half. Naturally, Lukashenka’s opponents do not have such strong methods to influence the voters, and is means such chances to win.
As it was informed earlier, the Central Election Commission of Belarus has registered 17 initiative groups of candidates for presidency. Among them there are completely unknown names, and they are most likely won’t be able to rise above the limit of 100,000 signatures. Realistic candidates for presidency, as said by local expects, beside the incumbent leader of the state, are a former Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Sannikov, a poet Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu, the chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus Syarhei Haidukevich, a deputy chairman of the United Civil Party Yaraslau Ramanchuk.