On the Pres­id­en­tial Elec­tions Belarus 2006

By Dr. Hans-Georg Wieck, Chair­man of “Menschen­rechte in Weißruss­land e.V.”, Ber­lin. With the offi­cially announced elec­tion res­ult of the pres­id­en­tial elec­tions in Belarus on 19 March, Lukashen­ko has scored a Pyrrhic vic­tory. The offi­cial res­ult, which was heav­ily manip­u­lated – 82.8 per­cent of the votes cast for Lukashen­ko, 6 per­cent for Milinkevich, 2.3 per­cent for Kosulin and 3.5 per­cent for Gaidukevich – bears no cred­ib­il­ity:

  • Based on exit polls (sur­veys of voters after they have cast their votes), Rus­si­an pub­lic opin­ion research insti­tutes con­cluded that the actu­al polit­ic­al scen­ario is most accur­ately reflec­ted by the fol­low­ing res­ult: between 43 and 47 per­cent of the votes were cast in favour of Lukashen­ko, and 25.6 – 31 per­cent were cast for Milinkevich. A res­ult of this order would neces­sit­ate a second round of vot­ing.
  • Based on a broad pop­u­lar move­ment, and sup­por­ted by pub­lic opin­ion, 30–40,000 demon­strat­ors gathered on Octo­ber Revolu­tion Square in the centre of Minsk on the eve of the elec­tion. Ignor­ing the threats by Lukashen­ko to “cut their ter­ror­ist throats”, cit­izens demon­strated with flowers and the flags of free Belarus and the European Uni­on against the manip­u­la­tion of the elec­tion res­ults by the state insti­tu­tions, and deman­ded that the real res­ults of the vote count­ing be announced. Dur­ing the late even­ing, the demon­strat­ors laid flowers on the etern­al flame on Vic­tory Square.
  • Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment from Ger­many and Poland demon­strated their solid­ar­ity with the demon­strat­ors and the fight of the people of Belarus for free­dom and demo­cracy.

The regime rig­or­ously acted to thwart the efforts of loc­al elec­tion mon­it­ors, and pre­ven­ted them from gauging the actu­al elec­tion res­ult. Lukashen­ko and his pro­pa­ganda offi­cials attemp­ted to min­im­ise the import­ance of the pub­lic demon­stra­tions of his polit­ic­al oppon­ents against the offi­cial elec­tion manip­u­la­tion. How­ever, with­in the circle closest to the fraud­u­lently re-elec­ted Pres­id­ent, the neg­at­ive after-effects of the heightened policy of unscru­pu­lously intim­id­at­ing the pop­u­la­tion, and the state ter­ror against the oppos­i­tion, will make them­selves felt:

  • The evid­ent solid­ar­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in Belarus and in the mem­ber states of the European Uni­on with the peace­ful, com­mit­ted efforts of the pion­eers for free­dom and nation­al hon­our in their fight against sup­pres­sion and arbit­rar­i­ness.
  • Lukashen­ko has scored a Pyrrhic vic­tory. He has gambled away the trust placed in him by the cit­izens of Belarus, and has above all tem­por­ar­ily secured his power base by means of sup­pres­sion and a now tenu­ous mono­poly on inform­a­tion.

The European Uni­on and its mem­ber states would be well advised to refuse to recog­nise the elec­tions as being demo­crat­ic, in oth­er words, as being free and fair, and to fur­ther restrict those ties with the regime which are still in place. The European Uni­on and its mem­ber states would be well advised to tackle the many defi­cien­cies in their dir­ect deal­ings with the polit­ic­al and social struc­tures in the civil soci­ety in Belarus. As part of a long over­due European Polit­ic­al Strategy for Belarus, a com­pre­hens­ive, long-term pro­gramme of action must be developed, the aim of which must be to sup­port the coun­try and its pop­u­la­tion in their efforts to take their legit­im­ate place among the demo­crat­ic European states. The major­ity of the pop­u­la­tion in Belarus is pla­cing its hopes on an effect­ive European com­mit­ment and on polit­ic­al solid­ar­ity with­in Europe with the fight for free­dom con­duc­ted by the demo­crat­ic and civic forces against tyranny and for the free­dom of the people of Belarus.

Categories: Analysis