Aleksandr Kozulin: «The time of Lukashenko is over»
He read out an excerpt from his statement made during the candidate registration ceremony five days before, in which he suggested that the Constitutional Court should hold an emergency session to examine the legality of Aleksandr Lukashenko`s participation in the race.
Dr. Kozulin, a former rector of Belarusian State University, said that the Lukashenko-called 2004 referendum that allowed the incumbent to run for a third term and the Belarusian authorities` decision to schedule the election for March, four months before the expiration of Mr. Lukashenko`s current term, were in violation of the constitution.
He also cited the constitution`s Article 77, which he said requires that candidates for President shall be exempted from performing their employment functions for the period between the date of registration as a candidate and the polling day. An exception is only made for the incumbent president who runs for a second term, not a third term, Dr. Kozulin said, adding that Article 77 still remains in force and Mr. Lukashenko should take a leave of absence for the campaign period.
He also noted that the election authorities had rejected his proposal to use transparent plastic ballot boxes, which he said is evidence of plans to rig the vote.
Dr. Kozulin showed a front-paged headline, "We are to Choose!" above a photograph of Mr. Lukashenko together with Lidiya Yermoshina, head of the central election commission, in the largest government-controlled newspaper, Sovetskaya Belorussiya. "This means that they will choose, not you, citizens," he commented, alleging that the authorities had already decided what percentage of the vote should be announced as votes for the incumbent. He showed an article on another page of the same newspaper that featured "76 percent" as a survey`s finding with regard to Mr. Lukashenko`s popularity. "These are myths. It`s time to tear these myths and throw them to the dump of history," he said and ripped the paper across and threw the halves away.
According to him, no more than 20 percent of the voters in Minsk are ready to vote for the incumbent.
"If a civil servant plays ice hockey for pleasure during working hours and public money is paid for this, this servant should be dismissed," he said. Since the president is just a civil servant hired by the people of Belarus, "I propose that the employment contract with Lukashenko should not be prolonged," he said.
In reply to Belarusian Television`s recent allegation that he is divorced but lies that he is married, Dr. Kozulin said that his wife, Irina, was with him in the studio, but the channel had refused to show her. He said that they have been together for 28 years. In this regard, he alleged that the nation has never seen the first lady, Galina Lukashenko, together with her official husband over the entire 12 years of his stay in office, and that the incumbent lives with another woman, whose mother is former Health Minister Lyudmila Postoyalko, and has a son with her.
Dr. Kozulin also displayed Oleg Alkayev`s book The Death Squad, in which the former chief of a death raw prison who was granted political asylum in Germany in 2001, insists that he issued the pistol used for executions in the prison to Dmitry Pavlichenko, commander of an elite police unit who was arrested in November 2000 on suspicion of being involved in killings was released the following day by order of President Lukashenko and Viktor Sheiman, then secretary of the Belarusian Security Council.
In June 2001, former investigators accused the authorities of sponsoring a death squad to eliminate political opponents, and the squad, allegedly led by Colonel Pavlichenko, was said to have killed their victims with that pistol.
Dr. Kozulin demanded in this regard that the Prosecutor General`s Office should institute criminal proceedings against Mr. Lukashenko or against Mr. Alkayev for slander.
"The time of Lukashenko is over. He has no future. All who follow him remain in the past. His strength is based on lies, fear, threats and bayonets. But strength is in truth and moral courage. And I will have enough courage to tell you the truth," Dr. Kozulin concluded.
Presidential contender Aleksandr Kozulin voiced strong criticism of incumbent Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko`s personnel policy, pulling no punches in his address to theoters broadcast by the First National Channel (Belarusian Television) on Wednesday.
"Our ministers and government officials are changing as the weather. Only one man has been staying in his post for 12 years now. During the 12 years, there is no unity in the team. During the 12 years, personnel issues are decided spontaneously and in an unsystematic manner. Best professionals drop their jobs and leave the country. There is no more players left on the bench," said a former rector of Belarusian State University.
"The executives of all levels are afraid to show an initiative, they are afraid of their own shadows. They work to meet targets handed down from above. An executive should have the right to a mistake, only in this case, he will use his own initiative and be creative. Meanwhile, our main principle is that we would better not do anything in order not to get into prison; we will praise Lukashenko and mind our purses. Normal executives are simply tired of offenses at government conferences."
The politician stressed that Mr. Lukashenko does not need wealthy people and companies. "Lukashenko needs hungry and humble people begging alms and thanking him for what they have," he said.
Dr. Kozulin was also critical of the opposition, which he said had been producing nothing but defeat after defeat in the last 15 years.
"We need a team of like-minded people, a team of professionals in power. A right decision can be reached only in dialogue as a result of a debate. I think you are also fed up with these ill-considered decisions like me. First they renamed avenues, then they tore posters off billboards when the ruler did not like an oversee girl whom our girl, which cannot travel abroad, will never match.... Meanwhile, our money, which the authorities collect from us in extortionate taxes, is spent on all these things," he said.