Opposition leaders sign agreement on electoral cooperation

The leaders of six opposition groups on August 24 signed an agreement on cooperation during the forthcoming presidential race, BelaPAN reports.

The agreement was inked by Anatol Lyabedzka, chairperson of the United Civic Party; Syarhey Kalyakin, leader of the Spravedlivy Mir (Just World) Belarusian Party of the Left; Alyaksey Yanukevich, leader of the Belarusian Popular Front; Vital Rymashewski, co-chairperson of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party; Mikalay Statkevich, leader of the European Coalition; Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, leader of the "Tell the Truth!" campaign; and Alena Yaskova, chairperson of the Nadzeya Belarusian Women’s Party.

Anatol Lyawkovich, chairperson of the Hramada Belarusian Social Democratic Party, told Mr. Statkevich, the organizer of the Tuesday meeting, that he would not be able to attend but was ready to sign the agreement.

Viktar Ivashkevich, a representative of Andrey Sannikaw, leader of a group called European Belarus, said that Mr. Sannikaw would decide within the following two days whether or not to sign the agreement.

Mr. Yanukevich noted that the Belarusian Popular Front would not abide by the agreement unless the signatories fought against not only Alyaksandr Lukashenka but also "pro-Russian candidates" during the race.
According to the accord, opposition forces shall conduct a massive campaign to inform all residents of Belarus about the "dire consequences" of the government's policies and to persuade a majority of voters to cast their ballots against Alyaksandr Lukashenka instead of passively staying away from the polls.

Opposition forces shall "work with members of election commissions" and cooperate in observing the election to expose irregularities and persuade the international community not to recognize its results, the agreement says.

According to it, opposition activists shall establish contacts and hold talks with government officials, managers of enterprises and police officers “who have already arrived at the realization that it is necessary to change the government.”

In the event of ballot-rigging, the opposition shall call on voters to stage street protests to demand a fair election.

In photos:
1 – (from left to right) Syarhey Kalyakin, Anatol Lyabedzka, Alyaksey Yanukevich, Vital Rymashewski, Viktar Ivashkevich, Mikalay Statkevich, Uladzimir Nyaklyayew and Alena Yaskova;
3 – Uladzimir Nyaklyayew signs the agreement;
4 – Syarhey Kalyakin signs the agreement.