2001 Presidential Elections in Belarus
After some deliberations Western democracies elected to support a moderate trade union leader – Uladzimir Hancharyk – in these elections. The only candidate of oppositiopn who had ever really had a chance – Siamion Domash – was too nationalistic according to the calculations of Western elections experts to be supported by majority of moderate Belarusians. Despite of strong panic and phsychosis which pushed him into numerous violations of election laws Lukashenka had won elections. Opposition argues that elections were rigged. And they probably were rigged to an extent of few percent, but even if they weren’t Lukashenka would have been elected anyway with majority of voices. The campaign of opposition has failed. Wrong timing, lack of clear leader (5 opposition candidates were walking around hand in hand until two months were left to elections), choosing the wrong leader who had teethless program, I can go on and on. One of the reasons of such morbid opposition behaviour was appearance in 2001 of Presidential Death Squad which has executed by some estimates up to 30 political figures, journalists and businessmen in Belarus.
September 11, 2001.
We grieve with Americans on the loss of thousands of lifes in the terrorist attack on WTC and Pentagon. This is the price that Americans paid for their uncompromized support of freedom and democracy around the World. This will not go in vain. Democracy will prevail!
September 11, 2001
The elections are over. Yugoslavian scenario did not played out. There were only 2000 protesters gathered on October Square that night. Would there be 100,000 – things could have developed differently. Hancharyk is calling for peaceful protests and law suites. Some youth organizations, Charter97, Kraj etc., are calling for radicalization. Putin has congratulated Belarusian people in Stalin’s glossary: ” I am thrilled with the self-sacrifice and courage of Belarusian people, who did not yielded to provocations from outside, and decided it’s fate in a way they felt necessary”. Well, after this he only needed to call for a hunt for Enemies of the People and we’d be back in the fifties. And be sure the manhunt has already started. As one of the posts on Belarusian political forum Draniki states:”All those cowards who were falsifying ballots with their hands, shaking out of fear, will now turn to revenge for their fear.” There will be prosecutions. But we will watch it closely and we will report any prosecution cases very much aloud. Justice will be served no matter how long do we need to fight for it.
September 10, 2001.
More than thousand cases of violations have been reported from elections. Opposition candidates never had a chance to appear on state TV, radio or in state controlled newspapers, while Lukashenka materials were continuosuly rolled on TV and Radio in violation of election laws. Internet, cell phones were blocked by regime to prevent people from reporting massive violations of law going around the country. Students were locked in dormitories until they woul give their voices into preliminary voting, which was much easier to manipulate. To say that Lukashenka is a choice of Belarusians as Russians do is to blatantly distort reality. European Union, in particularly OSCE official Mrs. Schroder, is claiming that no major elections violations have been observed. It has been a known position of EU expressed by Mr. Wic months ago that dissolving totalitarian Belarus in pseudo-democratic Russia will take care of “Belarusian problem” for EU. As far as we know only United States of America and Sweden have expressed clear and uncompromized position of support for free democratic Belarus. We don’t know what will happen next – several hundreds of activists have barricaded themselves in the Palace of Labor Unions and raised white-red-white historic Belarusian flag. The same flag that was raised in 1918 in Minsk by Belarusian Democratic Republic, later crushed by Bolsheviks. Labor unions are calling for all-Belarusian strike for today. But whatever happens, it is clear that the days of the Dictator are counted. This outrage can not go on much longer.
Uladzimir Hancharyk talks to his supporters on the night after elections.
September 9, 2001.
Belarusian Presidential Elections have been held today at 11.30PM in Minsk Belarus.
Central Elections Committee has announced preliminary results:
|Region||% ballots counted||% for Hajdukievich||% for Hancharyk||% for Lukashenka|
|The Capital – Minsk||15.78||3.33||27.35||60.59|
These official data are in drastic contradiction with independent estimates: Lukashenka – 44%, Hancharyk – 40% and Hajdukevich – 7%. The only direct account of observer that I’ve heard confirms this numbers – 39% for Hancharyk and 44% for Lukashenka at his elections station in Minsk. According to the statement of opposition leader Hancharyk this calls for a second round of elections.
It is now 10PM in Minsk, Belarus. The first round of presidential elections has ended at 8PM. The winner will be the one who had obtained 50% + 1 voice or more voices. If none – second round of elections will be conducted. The participation of the population was very high > 82.55%. According to independent analysts this should bring approximately 62%/37% victory to opposition leader Uladzimir Hancharyk. The percentage There is a big argument over the number of preliminary votes. The regime has used all of its means to make people vote in preliminary votes. This would leave more time and opportunities to falsify votes. The discrepancy between the number of preliminarty votes cited by opposition – 17% and the official 14% number suggests that about 3% of anti-regime votes have been erased. At this moment several thousand people strong meeting of opposition headed by Uladzimir Hancharyk is held at October Square in Minsk – right in front of Palace of Republic, where Central Elections Committee is residing.
- 2 of the websites of Belarusian Business Newspaper conducting life coverage of elections have been blocked by Lukashenka regime. Here is the auxilliary third website with current elections news.
- Continuous 24 hour coverage of Belarusian Presidential Elections is done by Charter97
- Belarusian service of Radio Freedom/Radio Free Europe is preparing life elections coverage on September 9.
Today Belarusians have chance to finally become a free nation. Today we can break free from 200 years of Russian Domination and return to Europe again. Everything depends on participation. If 70% or more of Belarusians will come out to vote then the regime will fail to manipulate all of the votes. In fear of “Yugoslavian scenario” police is stopping youth from getting on the trains going to capital in Mahilyow. Headquarters of the Belarusian Popular Front in Hrodna were searched tonight for two hours as part of criminal investigation of attempts to overthrow an existing government. Many opposition websites from Belarus – bdg.by, *.home.by, *.unibel.by, *.nsys.by, *.minsk.by, domash.by – have been blocked. Even the phone services of people reporting events to newspapers have been disconnected. Just like Lukashenka regime was switching off Russian TV re-translation on Belarus, he can switch off Belarusian Internet. More than 2000 of independent observers of Viasna96 and Leu Sapeha Fund opposition associations have been banned by Central Electory Committee yesterday, leaving many from the elections stations without independent observers. President of the United States of America Mr. George Bush has declared yesterday his support to Belarusian nation in it’s struggle for freedom and self-determination.
September 7, 2001
The political struggle increases. Tensions are rising high. Siamion Domash had a heart attack and was hospitalized. The newly appointed chairman of state television and radio network died off heart attack on September 6, 2001. Elections have already started in remote areas. Multiple cases of violations are being reported – the boxes of bulletins are broken in, disappearing, independent observers are harrassed and even beaten up. Militia was given an order to arrest independent pollsters at the exit of election points. Lukashenka has already announced that he does not care whether the West will recognize elections as legitimate. The opposition newspapers – Pahonia, Naroodnaia Volia – were raided by special security forces. All special election newspaper releases were confiscated. Even non-political newspapers like “Information Exchange”were searched for anti-Lukashenka materials. The opposition candidate Uladzimir Hancharyk called on democratic forces oof the Belarusian nation to gather at October Square of Minsk at 8.05PM – 5 min after elections official ending to wait together for the announcement of election results.
August 14, 2001
4 Presidential candidates have been officially registered for participation in Belarusian Presidential Elections on September 9, 2001 – Siamion Domash, Uladzimir Hancharyk, Siarhiej Hajdukevich and current ruler – Aliaksandar Lukashenka. Each of them has collected more than required 100, 000 signatures of supporters foor the registration. According to official announcement of democratic “Five” Domash is planning to take off his candidature in suppoort of Hancharyk. Hancharyk is promising Domash prime-minister post in his government.
Hancharyk and Domash after the official registration as Presidential Candidates.In my opinion, the democratic forces of Belarus have already lost these elections to Lukashenka. There was a slim chance that Domash would become a single candidate of unified oppoosition. Domash had a chance to lift the spirits of the majority of Belarusian society, unite Belarusians in desire to build normal civilized society and a prosperous country. But he was too politically biased towards strong and independent Belarus to win the vote of the other members of “Democratic Five”: a communist, a general, a labor unionist and a former Lukashenka prime minister. And Domash (as most of Belarusians) wasn’t aggressive enough to take charge and break through oother opposition. As a results 5 weak leaders have come into stalemate until they have come up with a blek compromise winner. The winner was Hancharyk – someone who holds no strong opinions and suggests no program. He has no enemies and no friends. He might be a winner amongst “democratic Five” but, again in my opinion, he will blow the elections, despite of all international support summoned at this moment to Belarus. All in all,. it is inability of Belarusian Democratic forces to overcome personal ambitions, unify and come up with a strong single candidate that is going to bring on Belarus another 7 years of Lukashenka tireless efforts to turn our entire country into one crazy giant “kolhoz”.
July 21, 2001
Democratic “Five” presidential candidates in alphabetical order: Uladzimir Hancharyk, Siamion Domash, Siarhej Kaliakin, Paval Kazlouski and Mikhail Chigir. This five candidates are coordinating their pre-elections activities. Alliances are possible and likely between democratic “Five” in a final stretch of elections.
Each of the democratic “Five” candidates has collected 100,000 signatures and is qualified for Presidential Election run. But on July 21 they have announced that the only Single Candidate, who would run will be Uladzimir Hancharyk. The rest are pulling out of the race and are going to back him up. Hancharyk has promised seats in his future government to all 4 remaining members of democratic “Five”.
July 21, 2001.
Uladzimir Hancharyk came out the winner of the closed door meeting of democratic “Five” yesterday. The five democratic candidates in their infinite wisdom agreed that Hancharyk should be a single candidate from unified opposition. Well now we are supposed to see what Belarusians think of this Single Candidate on elections day.
25 candidates, planning to run for President of Belarus, have been registered by the due date – 7PM, June 15, 2001. All of the candidates who filed applications have been registered.Each candidate is supposed to registrate initiative group until June 15, 2001 when the registration will be stopped. The candidate will be allowed to participate in Presidential Elections if 100,000 signatures will be collected by initiative group in favor of candidate. Collecting signatures will start on June 21, 2001. According to an article in “Svaboda”, Lidziia Iarmoshina, head of the Central Electoral Committee, is not planning on publishin exact schedule of Elections 2001. At this moment we know from her that by August 9 all candidates are planned to be registered. This leaves 1 month for a campaign of presidential candidates.According to latest news the democratic “Five” candidates have agreed to come up with a single candidate for presidential run. The other candidates will support him in this and become part of his team. It is pretty offending that the five candidates in are deciding for entire Belarusian nation who will be the unified opposition’s single candidate. One should at least run some kind of elections based on the number of social and political organizations that they represent. Unfortunately, Belarus is far from establishingg normal elections mechanisms and it is likely that we will have to swallow this kind of abuse of authority from democratic “Five”.
The purpose of this page is to collect relevant information about Belarusian Elections 2001. The June 7 session of the House of Representatives of the Belarusian National Assembly voted for conducting Belarusian Presidential Elections on September 9, 2001. The decision on Presidential Elections conduction was released as a statement “On the purpose of the elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus and organizational measures to insure their proper conduct”. 74 delegates voted for conducting elections vs 11 – against.The first two initiative groups of Presidential candidates were registered on June 12, 2001 according to “Svaboda” newspaper.. The groups of Viktar Ciareshchanka and Siarhej Hajdukevich were registered. The official start for signature collection begins on June 21, 2001.
Has created the President post for himself in 1994. Later extended term of his own presidency to 7 years. Currently is fighting his way to another term despite the rising opposition of the nation.Lukashenka regime is accused in murder of 30 prominent politicians, businessmen and journalists in Belarus. The case of “dissapeared” people has lead Belarusian prosecutors to the members of secret death squad of the President, who allegedly have developed entire procedure of “disappearing”.See an article in MSN Encarta Encyclopedia about Lukashenka
Siamion Domash Siamion Domash is a presidential candidate of the Unified Belarusian opposition. Unfortunately this unity has partially felt apart. Currently he is one of the oppositional “Five” group – five possible candidates for September elections with relatively similar programs. According to the leader of Unified Citizens’ Party – Anatol’ Liabedz’ka – Siamion Domash is currently receiving majority of support among “Democratic Five” from Coordinational Council of Democratic Forces (KRDS). Mr. Domash was a Head of Hrodna City Executive Committee in 1990-1993. He has later headed an entire Hrodna Province in 1994-1996 until his clashes with President Lukashenka begun. He is a strong supporter of delegating the government to local authorities and decentralizing power.
Uladzimir Hancharyk is the Chairman of the Federation of Labor Unions of Belarus. According to press secretary of Mr. Hancharyk Belarusian Labor Unions promise powerful support to this candidate during the campaign.
As one of the main threats the support group of Mr. Kaliakin sees the procedural formalities invented by current Lukashenka regime for creation of election initiative groups. The secretary of Central Committe of Party of Kommunists of Belarus, Mrs. Alena Skryhan, says that they apparently the procedure requires each member of such initiative group to file an official application in the presence of two witnesses stating the volunteer nature of joining the group. This will create various registration problems in Central Election Committe according to Mr. Kaliakin support group.
Mr. Kazlouski is a former Minister of Defence of Belarus. He is now the President of the Rehabilitation Fund for the Families of Former Military Servicemen. Mr. Kazlouski is currently actively traveling around Belarus creating local initiative groups for collection of signatures.There are steady rumors that he had abused his Minister of Defence government position holding a big wedding celebration for his son at the military base.
Former Prime Minister of Lukashenka government has got lately in trouble with President and barely escaped a prison term. Currently is running against Lukashenka in presidential elections 2001. Mikhail Chygir and Siamen Domash are considered two strongest candidates apart from Lukashenka.Mr. Chygir was laid off as prime-minister and put to jail together with his wife for financial machinations. Rumors say tha he had built a Palaccio with artististic fresco paintings for himself with not entirely clean funds. He is out of jail running for president now. But his wife is still in jail.
Siarhej Hajdukevich is a leader of Liberal-Democratic Party and block “New Belarus – Unity”. Currently he had diminished his initiative group of 5000 people to 2.13 for “an easier management”. Hajdukevich is hoping to use his business ties with Russian business structures to score the support of Kremlin in the upcoming Belarusian presidential elections. Refers to members of “Oppositional Five” as “beggars” implying that he is rich and understands business better than them. He hopes to beat Uladzimir Hancharyk in the elections because as he says “Hancharyk is enemy of Russia now”.So far (July 22) Mr. Hajdukevich has collected the necessary 100,000 signatures and is entering the race as candidate.
– is a former Ambassador of Belarus in Latvia. Marynich was a chief economy advisor of Lukashenka in 1994-1996 when Belarus turned it’s economy back towards Russia.
Mr. Pazniak is one of the founders of the Belarusian Popular Front “Adradzhennie” (“Renaissance”) is currently residing in USA. He is often named as a favorable presidential candidate by Belarusian Nationalistic Right. One possible obstacle for this candidate is the official requirement of 5 year residence in Belarus for a presidential candidate.
The first initiative group registrated by Belarusian Central Electoral Committee on June 12, 2001 became the group of Viktar Ciareshchanka according to “Svaboda” newspaper in Minsk, Belarus. Currently his initiative group has 6,000 members.
daughter of Piotr Masherau who has headed Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic for many years in the 70-ies and 80-ies and was deeply respected by Belarusians. Natallia Masherava is currently a deputee of Belarusian Parliament. She clearly expresses her sentiment for restoration of the USSR and is supporting the dissolution of independent Belarus in Russian-Belarusian Union. She actually is the Vice-Director of the Main Control of Informational and Analytical Work and Public Relations of the Parlamentary Congress of ill-famous Russia-Belarus Union. Mrs. Masherava has recently been mentioned in press as two of the pro-Russian candidates which are likely to receive Kremlin’s support.Natallya Masherava is so close in her views to nostalgic pro-USSR position of Lukashenka that she could have effectively drawn voices from his electorate. Either Lukashenka realized this threat and pressed her into quitting race, or Natallya Masherava herself sacrificed her chances for Lukashenka. But she took her candidature off the list blaming it on unhealthy atmosphere around elections.
Has been mentioned recently as a second candidate that will receive Kremlin endorsement and support.
– is the leader of non-government organiozation “Labor Self-Help”. He says that unlike other candidates he is not having any Soviet nomenclature past. Mr. Antonchyk states that only fresh candidates without “apparatchik” past has a chance of conducting effective social and economical reforms in Belarus.
– is a Belarusian entrepreneur/businessman.Uladzimir Mackevich
– is former head of Belarusian KGB, currently exiled to Bulgaria as Belarusian Ambassador. He was replaced in November 2000 by Mr. Sheiman, after the scandal broke out about political kidnappins and murders in Belarus, that involved President Security Special Forces.
– is Chairman of the State Committee of Belarusian Labor Union of Agricultural Industrial Complex.
– Vice President of the International Association “Human Rights Defence”
– construction engineer, director of Association “Lipen'” in Homel’
– electrical engineer, lqwyer, unemployed.
– retired KGB officer
– head of the livrary division of Bekarusian State Economic University
– retired person.
– General Director of Minsk Refrigirator plant “Atlant”
– businessman, entrepreneur
– director of trading house “BelBabaeuskae”
Belarusian unified opposition has elected Siamion Domash as a single candidate for the June 2001 presidential elections run against current Lukashenka regime. Maintaining the fragile unity of opposition, which is constantly threatened by conflicting personal ambitions of its leaders, is a tremendous challenge that our opposition would have to overcome to win these elections. It is a time for soberness. It could be our last chance to become free nation without a bloodshed.
References used in this page
- “How the candidates in candidates are preparing for elections” – an article by Alesia Sidliarevich in “Pahonia” newspaper published in Hrodna, Belarus.
- “Svaboda” newspaper
- Washington Post: “President Claims Elections Victory in Belarus: Protesters Say Elections Was Rigged”
- New York Times: “Stalinist’s Disputed Victory in Belarus Vote Is Denounced”
- Swedish school project “Alexander runs for Europe”
- UK’s Guardian: “Freedom in a cage”, “Belarussian foils dictator-buster… for now”
- UK’s Financial Times: “Belarusian opposition denies misusing Western aid”
- UK’s Independent: “Belarus re-elects president amid vote-rigging row”