Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Belarus's 'Movement For Freedom' Predicts That The United Democratic Opposition Will Peacefully Depose Dictator Lukashenka Within The Next Two Years

"The Political Council of Democratic Forces, which assisted opposition candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich in his bid to prevent Lukashenka from winning a third term in office, has assessed the opposition election campaign as satisfactory.

Official results had Milinkevich winning just 6 percent of the vote in the March 19 election, which monitors from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) said failed to meet democratic standards.

However, the Political Council has determined that Milinkevich actually achieved 20 percent support -- numbers that were confirmed last month by an independent post-election survey.

Those results, the Political Council believes, are strong enough for the entire democratic camp to build upon in posing a greater challenge to Lukashenka's authoritarian regime in the future. ...

Last month, a group of younger and more radical opposition activists, who protested against the election result in a five-day tent camp on October Square in Minsk, proposed that Milinkevich lead a broad movement in Belarus with the aim of deposing President Lukashenka.

One of those activists is Ihar Lyalkou from the Belarusian Popular Front (BNF). The BNF proposed Milinkevich as a presidential candidate during an opposition convention in August 2005, which gave Milinkevich a narrow edge over Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civic Party (AHP).

"The main thing we want today in the country and the democratic movement is to create the situation in which this movement could come to real power. We have, in both the provinces and Minsk, teams of professionals who are ready even today to become Alyaksandr Milinkevich's closest aides in the leadership of the movement," Lyalkou said.

Lyalkou and his colleagues do not want to abolish the Political Council of Democratic Forces. But Lyalkou told RFE/RL that they want Milinkevich to be solely responsible for executive decisions in the new movement.

"The movement should have the Political Council composed of the leaders of political parties. The council should remain in order to define basic, strategic directions of the movement's activity. And there must be some executive body -- which should be staffed not according to party quotas but according to exclusively professional qualities [of the staff]. This national committee should be formed by Mr. Milinkevich personally," Lyalkou said....

On April 26, during an opposition rally in Minsk to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster, Milinkevich announced the creation of a Movement for Freedom. Milinkevich predicted that the opposition, if united, could depose Lukashenka in the next two years through actions of civil disobedience

But Lyalkou argues that from now on Milinkevich should be promoted in Belarus as an icon of the anti-Lukashenka opposition: "The situation is such that for the first time in the past 12 years we have had a real, generally accepted -- both within our country and abroad -- leader who is an alternative to Lukashenka. Therefore, the starting conditions for a real change of the situation in the country are very good."

Judging by Ukraine's example, Lyalkou may be right. The opposition to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's regime began to score significant political successes only after Viktor Yushchenko united it under the banner of the Our Ukraine bloc in 2002 and became its clear leader. By the beginning of 2005, Yushchenko was heading the country."

Jan Maksymiuk and Yury Drakakhrust "Belarus: Opposition Seeks Direction After Presidential Election" Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty May 3, 2006

Alexsander Milinkevich is slated soon to be the first President of the post-Lukashenka era in Belarusian politics.

Alexsander Milinkevich is currently using the jailing of Belarus's democratic opposition movement -- including himself -- to plot a 24 month plan of non-violent civil disobedience to unseat the Lukashenka dictatorship. Milinkevich was independently projected to have actually received at least 20 percent of the vote in the March 19 rigged Presidential election -- an election conducted under conditions of fully State-owned media non-reporting of the opposition's candidacies. Not knowing whether he would have garnered 49% or 51% of the vote, Lukashenka and his cronies decided to claim 83% and hope that no one would notice.

In the United States, in 2000, one Supreme Court Justice decided the managed- democracy electoral outcome. In 2006, in Belarus, one man, Vladimir Putin, decided the winner of the electoral contest.

Photo credit: Agence France Presse. With thanks.


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