4 February 2023, Saturday, 12:27
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Mikalai Statkevich: Elections are already rigged

Mikalai Statkevich: Elections are already rigged

Belarusian opposition leaders held a press conference in Minsk.

The leaders of Belarusian opposition are going to launch a campaign to convey their common message to people that “elections are already rigged”.

Mikalai Statkevich, a former political prisoner and former candidate in the 2010 presidential elections, said it at the press conference in Minsk on August 28, BelaPAN reports.

Besides Statkevich, leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka, leader of the movement for Statehood and Independence of Belarus Uladzimir Niakliaeu and co-head of the organising committee to create Belarusian Christian Democracy party Pavel Seviarynets took part in the press conference.

According to Statkevich, all of them regard the current political events in Belarus as “rigged elections”. It's not “ballot papers and final reports” but “lists of candidates” that were rigged, the politician noted.

“In the 1990s, Lukashenka was ready to turn the country into six regions [of Russia] in exchange for the lowest post in the Kremlin,” the former political prisoner said. “He grew older and understood he wouldn't see a throne in the Kremlin. He is ready to sell the country for a couple of billions. No one will defend the country with arms. If the president who is considered legitimate by the international community surrenders Belarus to Russia, we won't be able to resist it. We will struggle not to allow the legitimisation of the elections and Lukashenka as the president.”

Statkevich noted that the best moral position for citizens is to “ignore this show completely”.

“We will carry out a public campaign to convey our message to the people of Belarus. We will demand proper democratic elections. Of course, it is the last of our tasks. It may take years to fulfil it,” Statkevich said.

Former presidential candidate Uladzimir Niakliaeu harshly criticised the representatives of democratic opposition who decided to run in the “elections”. According to him, opposition members don't have the right to participate in the electoral campaign if they “didn't betray democracy” and don't support the regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, Euroradio reports.

“I have never seen such hot weather as this summer and have never been so ashamed,” he said at the joint press conference of the opposition leaders.

Niakliaeu thinks opposition shouldn't run in the presidential campaign because former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich is “illegally deprived” of that right. Niakliaeu thanked Statkevich for his “courage that helps those who have conscience not lose their spirit”. He also said he was ready to support Statkevich in everything.

Journalists asked the politicians what they would do if the West recognised the elections.

“The West should not surrender democracy in Belarus. But even when if happened, Belarus and its people remained. God helped us live on,” Pavel Seviarynets said.

Journalists asked if the opposition would present a united front and if it had an action programme.

“We have two main points: Belarus, its sovereignty and independence. We say that Lukashenka is not a guarantor of the independence. We work closely with the international community. If we don't work to recognise election results illegitimate, Lukashenka will become a legitimate president for the first time since 1996,” Anatol Liabedzka said, adding that the work is not reduced only to the current election campaign. Opposition stands for new free elections.

“The strategy of Lukashenka and Yarmoshyna is in crisis. We must ignore it. If polling stations will be empty, it will be our result. I am sure that the authorities will use different means to make people vote, because they don't have money to pay pensions and salaries,” Liabedzka added.

Mikalai Statkevich said he had met with members of Hramada and the European Coalition, and they supported his position.

Statkevich expressed hope that the participants of the press conference and certain representatives of democratic forces would join the coalition.

The former political prisoner thinks, however, that there's no place for all in the coalition. According to him, the red light should be given to Siarhei Kaliakin and Aliaksei Yanukevich.

The former cannot join the coalition, because, according to Statkevich, “I can't call communists democrats”, and the latter is not suitable because the BPF Party “works for the candidate” – Tatsiana Karatkevich.

“She is a beautiful woman, but there's the person behind her who once disgraced himself but now behaves as if it had never happened,” the politician noted.