Ten questions shortlisted for People’s Referendum campaign

The organizers of the People`s Referendum campaign have drawn up a list of 10 questions that may be posed to voters within the framework of the campaign...


The organizers of the People`s Referendum campaign have drawn up a list of 10 questions that may be posed to voters within the framework of the campaign.

The list was compiled by the "Tell the Truth!" movement, the Movement for Freedom and the Belarusian Popular Front, which spearhead the People`s Referendum campaign, as a result of meetings with common people and consultations with political analysts and other experts.

The list now has to be shortened to five questions, Alyaksey Yanukevich, chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front, said Thursday during an online question-and-answer session hosted by BelaPAN.

To be considered for inclusion in the list, questions proposed for the referendum had to address issues that concerned the entire Belarusian nation, could not be resolved without changing the country`s political system, and were not "divisive," Mr. Yanukevich said.

The 10 questions are as follows:

1. Do you agree that if the government cannot provide the necessary free medical treatment to a citizen under 18 years of age, it should pay for such treatment in any other place where it is available?
2. Do you agree that the heads of the executive governments of territorial units of all levels should be elected by direct secret ballot and have the powers to draw up and implement the unit`s budget?
3. Do you agree that the government of Belarus should do everything necessary to sign a free-trade agreement with the European Union?
4. Do you agree that the Electoral Code should be amended to include the provision that a person who has held the presidential post for two terms may not be registered as a presidential candidate?
5. Do you agree that the government should take the necessary measures to create special favorable conditions for doing business for Belarusians, including by enacting a small and medium-sized enterprises law?
6. Do you agree that public spending on both education and healthcare should be legislatively required to be no less than eight percent of GDP?
7. Do you agree that there should be no foreign military bases in Belarus?
8. Do you agree that the revenues and expenditures of all programs, institutions and budgets that are financed with public funds should be reported exhaustively and publicly, except in cases governed by military and state secret regulations?
9. Do you agree that decisions that could drastically influence the fate and future of the country or an individual region, including decisions on issues such as the establishment of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park, the construction of a nuclear power plant and the establishment of a foreign military base, should be made through referendums of the respective level?
10. Do you agree that the Electoral Code should be amended to enable candidates in elections of all levels to delegate representatives with voting rights to election commissions of different levels in their electoral districts?

Andrey Dzmitryyew, deputy chairman of the "Tell the Truth!" movement, said that the wordings of the questions might be changed, and that such changes could be serious.

To make final adjustments, the leaders of the People`s Referendum campaign will go on their second tour of the provinces and also consult Belarusian think tanks, he said.

Mr. Dzmitryyew warned against focusing on the "tactical" aspects of conducting the people`s referendum. The organizers of the campaign will do their best to convince a majority of voters that the referendum is necessary, he said. "When a majority want something, authorities either obey their will or go against public sentiment and later pay dearly for their decision," he said.

Mr. Dzmitryyew said that it would be necessary to conduct the referendum even if Alyaksandr Lukashenka was not reelected in 2015.

The People`s Referendum campaign was initiated this past May by the Belarusian Popular Front, the "Tell the Truth!" movement and the Movement for Freedom. The three organizations were later joined by the Hramada Belarusian Social Democratic Party and the Party of Freedom and Progress.

As many as 50,000 valid voter signatures are required to initiate a nationwide referendum in Belarus. The House of Representatives decides whether or not to call referendums at the request of voters. The lower parliamentary chamber would be constitutionally required to call a referendum if 450,000 signatures were collected. // BelaPAN