Sieviaryniec: Same thing goes if marriage is registered or apartment…
12:59, — Politics
Paviel Sieviaryniec suggested to convene a congress of democratic forces in 2014, the delegates for which would be opposition candidates for municipal elections.
Sieviaryniec suggests that at the Congress the opposition would decide on the single presidential candidate.
In an interview to Radio Svaboda the politician told why there was a need for a single candidate, why the Congress should take place before the Ice Hockey World Championship and what could unite different opposition camps. Sieviaryniec also commented on the statements by Valer Bulhakau, Dzmitry Bandarenka, Andrej Takindang on the idea of the Congress that had appeared on Svaboda’s web-site.
- In the scheme that you are suggesting only those will be the delegates for the Congress, who would run for municipal elections. Dzmitry Bandarenka believes that this would prematurely cut off half of the opposition, which would not participate in the elections.
- We stand for a broad process of selecting a single leader. If this could be combined with primaries, internet-voting or gatherings like it was in 2006 – perfect. But we incline towards the simplest procedure: these should be those, who collect signatures during the municipal campaign. The maximum goal is broad nomination, the minimum goal – those, who manage to collect signatures.
- Is there any sense at all in making a link to the municipal campaign, while neither among activists nor among the society there is certainty that participating in them could change anything? Uladzimir Kolas notes points out that the result of participating in local elections will be zero.
- To collect signatures for the Congress by itself will be difficult and impossible. This is a real problem, if it is not linked to the campaign. We do not participate in the elections. We simply use the electoral campaign. My suggestion is to run as a candidate, collect signatures, and then people may withdraw. I also believe that it is wrong to urge to go vote, go vote early. As to the registration, this is a possibility to legally go door to door. The same goes when a marriage is registered or an apartment… The same thing is to collect signatures in order to participate in the Congress – usual thing.
- What should do those, who does not want to or cannot run for the elections? How could they get to the Congress?
- The basis of the Congress would be those, who work with people, participate in elections, withdraw, goes till the end – the main thing is for signatures to be there. But at the Congress there will be a certain quota for famous people or, for example, for those, whose criminal record does not allow to participate in elections. Of course, the election of the single leader could be arranged on the Internet, but the majority of political leaders do not agree to that.
- Do you immediately reject the idea of a joint boycott or ignoring the elections?
- Boycott is impossible in this campaign, since there is no turnout threshold. Full boycott is simply improbable. If we boycott, let’s not got to schools or take public transport. To my view, a boycott is not a principle for living or a way to win. This is a certain mechanism. If a boycott goes in line, for example, with a strategy of a national strike. An alternative government, alternative president…
- The supporters of a boycott have quite a clear argumentation, saying that the public sentiment is not to participate in elections. Why would you make them forcedly?
- Those, who support boycott, should suggest a strategy. Then alternative authority institutes should be created, a national strike announced! They should do that, disseminate leaflets! This is great. But no one does that. Belarusians are very angry, disappointed, on the internet they bite on everything that moves. The suggestion is to unite the forces that we have, and then act according to the situation. This is either participation in the 2015 campaign, or a boycott, or an alternative government.
- It is still almost 2 years before the presidential elections, everything could change. Why the Congress should be convened in April?
- Because after the Ice Hockey World Championship the crews will be tightened and serious economic problems will start. In summer the event will be more chaotic, and a single voice will be needed that will be heard inside the country and abroad. Only a year will be left before the 2015 campaign.
- A musician Andrej Takindang, for example, believes that it is pointless to participate in elections. In particular, he claimed: “You could send even Janka Kupala or Jakub Kolas to participate in elections – the result would be zero”.
- Selecting a single leader does not mean a programmed participation in elections by Jarmoshyna’s scheme. Such a leader may announce a boycott or start creating an alternative government. We select a single leader, able to unite, lead and win.
- Bandarenka gives an example of Maydan in Kiev, saying that it is strong even without a leader.
- A leader is needed. The situation in Ukraine is much better: in terms of the strength of the opposition, the national identity. In Belarus everything is more similar to Russia. In Russia the leader is Navalny. The situation in Belarus is nearly the same. People do not believe the authorities. But they need a single voice of the opposition. Milinkievich says: “a dialogue, Belarus should be pulled into Europe”, Sannikov says “boycott”. Niakliajeu says “elections, let’s participate, only thus will we win”. People, having heard this all, do not know what to do, they say that we should decide on anything specific. A single leader is needed. The strongest will be then defined. If the situation shows that a boycott is needed, the team will decide to boycott.
- Valer Bulhakau claimed in an interview to Radio Svaboda that political procedures did not work in Belarus, meaning a congress, nomination and elections. According to him, opposition should look for new instruments…
- We have been inventing a bicycle for 20 years already. Of course, we could invent something Belarusian and inimitable. Go suggest. If anyone is ready to suggest the scheme for selecting a single leader via the internet, a lot, a nomination via a street protest – go ahead. People are waiting, go ahead! Critique is perceived as a way out, not like a desire to do something. I do not see a way able to change anything apart from the usual traditional selections of a single leader. There is no Belarusian street protest.
- It is obvious that there is a certain division among Belarusian democratic forces. It does not go along the ambitions line, but along the lines of their attitude towards the regime. Many political leaders do not even speak to one another. What would make them gather at a single Congress?
- They are all united in the idea of independence and that Lukashenka should be changed. Some think it is now impossible, others – that it is. Good and bad cops – are two elements of a single strategy. For example, there is a good cop Milinkievich and a bad cop Sannikov. A single presidential candidate should be in certain sense in between, in order to use the instruments in turns. When there is a real threat of being absorbed by Russia, it is possible to speak to Europeans for them to engage Lukashenka like they did with Yanukovych. If this does not work, then decisive actions should be taken, including a boycott. The main thing is for there not to be moderates and radicals, who could be set one against another, divided and conquered. Opposition should act differently, but with a single goal.