Updated at 01:25,03-03-2021

Sociologists: Belarusians are waiting for changes


Already today 50.7% of respondents are willing to vote in September's parliamentary elections, 19.4% do not intend to participate, and 29.9% have not decided yet (in June 2008, 53%, 18.4% and 27.4% respectively).

This data was obtained by registered in Vilnius the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS) during the national survey of public opinion conducted in June. (1498 people surveyed, sampling error does not exceed 3%).

The research showed that only 14.2% of respondents are for a boycott of these elections, negative - 29.5%, indifferent - 28%, and 28.3% of respondents didn't hear about any boycott (in June 2004 - 9.9%, 27.8%, 26.7% and 35.3% respectively).

"On this basis, we can assume that, as in the previous parliamentary elections in September about 60% of voters will take part", IISEPS concludes.

Moreover, the number of people who prefer to vote for alternative candidates has increased markedly. If four years ago 39.6% were going to vote for Lukashenko supporters, 17.7% for the opponents, and for other candidates 31.4%, now it is 27.6%, 28.2% and 27.4% respectively. To the question "If the candidate who is closed in spirit to you, offers you to enter his election team, will you agree to this?" 21.5% (ie half a million voters) answered positively.

However, the attitude of Belarusians to the parliamentary elections as to the path leading to changes, is being transformed significantly. Thus, only 36.8% of respondents thought these elections to be free and fair, while 39.6% hold the opposite opinion (in June 2008, 45.9% vs. 34.8% respectively), only 36.7% believe the results depend on their voices, and 54.5% hold the opposite opinion, only 39.1% believe the elections will be a real struggle, 46.9% - it will be only the imitation of fight, and the distribution of seats is determined in advance by the authorities, only 38.5% believe that the House of Representatives, which to be elected at the forthcoming elections, will reflect the interests of society, and 46.2% hold the opposite opinion, 40.3% consider the activities of the House of Representatives has no effect on their lives and their loved ones at all (44.5% responded positively).

It should be noted, such a skeptical attitude to the parliamentary elections is the result not only of government policies. For example, only 37.7% believe, the opposition candidates have real programs to improve life in the country, and 40.1% disagreed with it (according to 45.8% the candidates, supporting the authorities, have such programs, and 37.8% think they don't have).

In these circumstances, IISEPS says, voters are particularly interested in the independent supervision of the elections. Most of them (63.7%) believe the independent election observation contributes to greater fairness and objectivity of the elections, 52.7% are interested to receive information on compliance with election procedures from the observers (preferring independent observers - 37.7%, but not the observational organizations, supported by the authorities - 6.9 %), 22.7% would like to personally become observers of the elections, and another 28% are willing to give observers information about violations during the elections.

For example, half of those surveyed had heard that both local and independent, and international observers from the OSCE noted significant violations of the electoral process during the parliamentary elections in 2008 and presidential elections in Belarus in 2010.

"It shows, the potential to seek changes through elections in Belarusian society, is far from exhausted", IISEPS says.