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English

Three opposition organizations set to hold “people’s referendum”

 

The “Tell the Truth!” movement, the Movement for Freedom and the Belarusian Popular Front have announced an intention to hold a “people’s referendum.”

The referendum questions are expected to be formulated by the next local elections, which should be held no later than March 2014, Yury Hubarevich, deputy chairman of the “Movement for Freedom,” told reporters in Minsk on Monday.

Andrey Dzmitryyew, deputy chairman of the “Tell the Truth!” movement, said that the questions would relate to the country’s economic development, the social protection of families, and the development of an efficient government system. These issues are important for most people, he explained.

Mr. Hubarevich said that the collection of signatures for holding the referendum would begin during the local elections, and that the referendum issues would be reflected in the election platforms of the three organizations’ candidates.

The “referendum agenda” may form the backbone of the election platform of an opposition candidate in the 2015 presidential election, he said. If people support the proposal to hold the referendum, the “Tell the Truth!” movement, the Movement for Freedom and the Belarusian Popular Front will be able to campaign for amending regulations governing referendums, Mr. Hubarevich said. If this campaign succeeds, it will be possible to gather the required number of signatures by the deadline, he said.

Instead of resting, activists of the three organizations will work hard during the coming summer, Mr. Hubarevich said. They will visit more than 30 cities as part of a public discussion of the referendum proposal, he said.

According to Mr. Dzmitryyew, the referendum would help unite those “who say in kitchens today that they cannot live like this any more.”

Alyaksey Yanukevich, chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front, predicted that the referendum would make pro-democratic organizations more popular and help “wake up the public.”

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