Updated at 23:19,25-10-2016

"Alternative" opposition elections in Russia: worth repeating in Belarus?

Nasha Niva
24-10-2012, 13:48
81,000 voter participated in the elections of the Coordinating Council of Opposition in Russia

Russian opposition held "alternative" polling on the Internet to elect the Coordinating Council which will lead the opposition. But what is Belarusian oppositions opinion on the elections? Is it worth to use the same procedure to elect some kind of the coordinating council and then the presidential candidates?

Russian opposition held "alternative" polling on the Internet to elect the Coordinating Council which will lead the opposition.

A voting system that would be entirely transparent and falsification-proof was created. The electors voted online, verifying their identity with scanned documents, photographs and their cellphone numbers.

A voter ID number was then sent to their phones; thats what they were to use to vote online. Lists of registered voters were also posted online, open for anyone to inspect.

Of 209 candidates, 45 were elected.

But what is Belarusian oppositions opinion on the elections? Is it worth to use the same procedure to elect some kind of the coordinating council and then the presidential candidates?

Andrzej Pocczobut, journalist, the activist of the Union of Poles:

Know-how invented by opposition in one authoritarian country is frequently used by opposition in other such countries. I believe it is worth to study Russias experience.

Then the potential organisers of such an event have a need of personal decency together with the technological competence. However, it is worth remembering that Internet-popularity does not always mean real influence.

Vital Amialkovich, an activist from the town of Sluck:

I like the idea, but I am afraid that the authorities will use all its technical might to wreck the elections.

They will attack the internet sites, will compromise the candidates and the members of the election committee. They will simply grad people on the eve of some noticeable addresses or actions.

Juras Hubarevich, deputy Chairperson of the Movement for Freedom:

I think it is worth considering something new. Something that may allow to transform the internet-voices into the real teamwork and will increase the number of opposition entities.

Otherwise the opposition, which is currently isolated from the society, will remain virtual for goods.

Aliaksandr Fiaduta, Tell the Truth! civil movement coordinator:

Russia is a big country and there is no other way but to vote on the Internet. I think that the common in my opinion candidate should be elected by those who will then collect signatures, distribute flyers, picket, work at pre-election regional offices.

There are many respected people who support opposition, but before us is the fight when troops should elect a general. You have as many votes as guns. And to learn how many guns you have, one has to go through pre-election campaign: e.g. through the local elections. Then well see who is who and who may become a common candidate. Let us wait for a bit. There is still some time.

Viktar Karniajenka, For Fair Elections campaign coordinator:

The coordinating council is required to solve concrete political tasks such as nomination of oppositions common presidential candidate.

Such councils have been established not once. But they mainly were delegated the powers from the entities who agreed to cooperate. So the question is whether the political leaders are eager to seek for a compromise or they want to keep on worrying about the ratings, strengthening their tiny organisations and self-survival as late as in 2015.

If they are ready and the words are supported by actions, then coordination schemes may be very diverse, including the Russian option. With no clear objective, the creation of any superstructures will be a game. We had already had a ruler in exile, a Prosecutor General in exile, a whole parliament in exile. But what was the outcome?

If we consider an alternative polling, there is alway a matter of trust to such elections commissions.

May be, to increase the trust to the procedure, it is worth to ask our moral authorities as Sviatlana Alieksijevich, Uladzimir Arlou, etc. to join.

Siarhiej Salash, an activist from the town of Barysau:

If there were an agreement to use such a mechanism, the e-polling would be reasonable.

However, neither "eternal activists" nor outsiders will agree to participate. What the process management is concerned, I would entrust some Lipkovich (a popular Belarusian blogger) to process the passports scans, but not the rest. The counting should be performed by disinterested non-partisan people.

Zmicier Salaujou, engineer and human rights activist:

I think the Russian method may be used as primaries to learn the potential candidates ratings.

But there are difficulties here. If the voting is held on the offices of opposition entities or via the Internet, only few social groups will be represented (activists, student, office workers) while other will be not.

There is also the matter of security to avoid falsifications. It is hard to control who actually votes as the codes may be intercepted. Furthermore, Belarusians leave the photocopies of their passports and passport data in many places.

Siarhiej Charnavoki, programmer, member of the Belarusian Christian Democracy:

The idea is good, but it is preferable to conduct such elections at times of the political enthusiasm as it was after December 19, 2010.

Ivan Shyla, student:

The idea is actually worth trying. If such elections are held, impossible will happen the opposition will unite.

The campaign itself is the good tool to check the viability of Belarusian opposition entities.

In general, Russian opposition generates many worthy ideas.

Speaking about the elections, they are electing the rally speakers. And what lively rally organizing committees they have! Belarusians have lag behind for a long time.

The e-polling is completely acceptable: it is time to realise that repressions against hundreds of thousands of people are impossible.