Партыя БНФ - партыя абароны народных інтарэсаў

People’s Engagement in Election Fraud during a Pandemic Is a Double Offense

14.05.2020

On May 10 the BPF Party Sojm discussed online the political situation in Belarus, which developed in the context of the appointment of elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the discussion, the governing body of the party adopted a political statement on this issue.

 

Statement by the BPF Party Sojm,

May 10, 2020

The presidential elections in Belarus are scheduled for this August 9th. The authorities ignored the recommendations to amend the electoral legislation proposed by international ODIHR/OSCE observers and national observation campaigns. However, another danger factor for the Belarusian people was added to these elections, namely the campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BPF party notes with indignation that the current leadership of Belarus failed to take measures proposed by the BPF and the civic society to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to properly inform the citizens about the real situation; failed to provide the necessary support to the Belarusian business and households, and denied the danger of the pandemic. Regardless of the recommendations, they call for damaging behaviour.

The actions of the authorities during the pandemic, especially since the coronavirus appeared in Belarus, have aggravated and demonstrated all the weak points of the current authoritarian regime: isolation of the authorities from the people, treatment of citizens as if they are biomass. They only meet the needs of a narrow caste of people, lie to the Belarusian people and treat them with neglect.

The most striking example of all these evils of power was the holding of mass events on 9 May, including a military parade and a concert. The decision of Aliaksandr Lukashenka to feed his ambitions has posed a serious threat to the health and lives of thousands of people, including veterans of the Second World War and pensioners, who are at risk. The authorities have demonstrated their unwillingness to engage in proper, deep and full-scale international cooperation and ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organization. They introduced a fee for charitable aid from abroad, including the import of means to fight against COVID-19.

Such an approach runs counter both to the interests of the Belarusian people and common sense. The logical continuation of this approach is a senseless and irresponsible decision to start an election campaign against the increasing number of Belarusians suffering from the coronavirus and to hold the so-called elections on August 9.

It is extremely irresponsible and dangerous to run an election campaign in the conditions of a pandemic. While other European countries make reasonable decisions to postpone the elections, even with a much smaller number of people infected, the Belarusian authorities, on the contrary, organize the campaign earlier than expected.

The BPF Party Sojm claims it’s unacceptable to conduct an election campaign in the conditions of coronavirus spreading in Belarus. First of all, each level of the campaign requires the active engagement of thousands of people, which jeopardizes their health and lives, as well as the health and lives of their loved ones. Now people concerned about health risks pay minimum attention to issues not related to their physical health and well-being in the context of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, which has already affected and will affect Belarusians even more in the coming months.

Under the pandemic, the election campaign will not be able to achieve those tactical and strategic objectives that would justify the participation of democratic candidates in the undemocratic, unfree and unfair elections that have been held since 1995.

Based on the above reasons, the BPF Party Sojm decided not to participate in the 2020 presidential elections. The Party will not nominate its candidate and will not support other candidates. Moreover, we urge the leaders and activists of all democratic organizations not to nominate their presidential candidates and not to participate in the election campaign in the conditions of the pandemic. Participation of any candidate or organization in the election campaign will become complicity in destroying the prospects of the Belarusian people not only for a free future but also for physical survival.

The BPF Party calls on all democratic political forces and all potential candidates who consider themselves Belarusian patriots to withdraw their candidacy from these elections. The BPF Party says that Aliaksandr Lukashenka has been an illegal leader of the country for several terms and has no right to run for the presidency. His next term will bear catastrophic consequences for the Belarusian state, economy and society, as well as the health of the population.

When Belarusian politicians show political maturity and refuse to participate in a risky election campaign during the pandemic, the election campaign will be stopped and re-election is scheduled. Before the re-election, the BPF Party suggests holding a round table to discuss political reforms in Belarus and ways to fight against the coronavirus.

We also appeal to the organizations with which the BPF Party has created and is conducting an election observation campaign. It proposes to reshape it into a campaign to identify and register criminal deeds of the current government, which uses the epidemic situation for more extensive manipulations, falsifications and repressions. Now we observe not only a violation of electoral rights and freedoms of Belarusians, but also a violation of the rights to health and life of all citizens of the country and the organizers of election farce at places. All these violations and crimes should be identified and recorded, while the truth about them should be made public.

This election campaign is launched against the background of an emergency. It brings completely new and extremely acute problems not only for the rights and freedoms of Belarusians but also for human life itself. Under such conditions, a new level of responsibility is required from the democratic political forces of Belarus. We have no right to act in the old way ignoring new, unprecedented challenges.

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