Opposition forces currently have strong instruments to influence the political situation in the country, Anatol Lyabedzka, chairman of the United Civil Party (UCP), told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday, speaking about a recent visit of Belarusian opposition politicians to Poland.
"During yesterday’s meetings [in Warsaw], we agreed on the need to prepare a package of economic and financial assistance to Belarus if free elections are held in the country,"Mr. Lyabedzka said. "But both Mr. [Donald] Tusk [Poland’s prime minister] and Foreign Minister [Radoslaw] Sikorski emphasized that financial assistance might reach Belarus only after the political prisoners were released and elections meeting the OSCE standards were held in the country."
"At present the opposition has a number of strong instruments in its hands to influence the situation," Mr. Lyabedzka said. "The international community views it as one of the participants in possible talks. Secondly, there is an agreement that we will initiate a sort of Marshall Plan and devise it in cooperation with the European Union’s experts. I don’t want to sound high and mighty, but I think the package of financial and economic assistance that may come to Belarus is a powerful message that can be heard by people in Belarus."
Alyaksandr Lukashenka should be held personally responsible for the current economic crisis in the country, said UCP Deputy Chairman Lew Marholin.
"We could demand the resignation of the government, but we know that the government decides nothing in our country," Mr. Marholin said. "One person decides on everything, and that is why we should demand the resignation of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who is the one responsible for everything that has been done in the last 15 years, for what has brought the nation to the crisis, and for the fact that the authorities don’t realize even now that everything that has taken place in these 15 years is the reason for the current crisis."
"The government was in a stupor for six months and did nothing following a drastic deterioration in the economic situation," Mr. Marholin said. The measures that have recently started to be taken are belated and half-way, and suggest that the authorities are unaware of the real state of affairs and do not understand the fundamental reasons for the crisis, he noted.
"The government does not have any sensible program to lead the nation out of the crisis," Mr. Marholin said."The United Civic Party has such a program. We have repeatedly voiced it and are ready to assume the responsibility for its implementation. Unfortunately, our proposals remain unheeded."
"We’ll continue to follow developments in the economy of the country and keep proposing ways out of the crisis, but we are certain that nothing crucial will happen unless the government is changed, which is sure that it is going in the right direction."