Statement on the fraudulent election campaign for the Coordination Council

From the beginning of January to March 8, 2024, representatives of the Forum of Democratic Forces of Belarus took part in the work of the Public Committee for the preparation of elections to the new composition of the Coordination Council, hoping to achieve the consolidation of efforts to overcome the political crisis in Belarus. The participants were forced to declare their withdrawal from the Public Committee and their non-participation in the elections in the format that was approved.

The Coordination Council, which emerged after 2020, is a community of non-profit organizations and does not represent the interests of Belarusian citizens.

During the meetings of the Public Organizing Committee, proposals were made to reformat the Coordination Council into the National Council, expand its functions, hold elections according to the majoritarian system, and comply with a transparent procedure for choosing a platform for voting through an international tender.

The formation of legitimate national institutions is one of the strategic tasks. The representative institution is the most important of them, as it allows you to create other state institutions and direct their activities in the right direction.

The participants of the Public Organizing Committee were presented with proposals for the concept of organizing elections to the National Council, which was presented in August 2022. According to it, as a result of online elections, a representative body should be formed, which should become a legislative and constituent body in the Republic of Belarus during the period of illegal retention of power, as well as during the transition period. Tasks for the new body were proposed:

  • to consolidate the efforts of democratic forces to resolve the political crisis in Belarus;
  • to create a legal basis for the activities of the new institutions of power in the Republic of Belarus;
  • ensure the holding of free and democratic elections;
  • to prepare the conditions for the restoration of law and order in the country;
  • prepare and adopt transitional laws;
  • to ensure the protection of the interests of Belarus in the international arena, etc.

The assumption to expand the powers of the Coordination Council was supported by the majority of votes of the Public Organizing Committee, which included 35 people.

It was also stated that the list of candidates for voting should be roll-call, and the number of members of the representative institution should be reduced to 50 people, which will increase its professionalism and optimize its work. It was noted that candidates on the list can be nominated from public organizations, political parties and movements. Under the current conditions, it will be difficult to form lists and coalitions, to comply with quantitative quotas, which may discourage many potential participants from taking part in the elections as candidates. A voter should have the right to vote for several candidates, so that distortions during voting do not affect the final result, and all participants in the election campaign are on an equal footing. It was suggested that candidates who had not been elected to the representative body should have the opportunity to participate in its work as observers, experts, etc.

It was suggested that the European Commission, some Governments, should be asked to support the elections and to act as observers.

Important attention was focused on a transparent procedure for selecting a platform for online voting and holding an international tender for the selection of a contractor.

In the course of the work of the Public Organizing Committee, a closed group was created, represented by the "office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya", which behind the scenes made final decisions on the format of elections to the new composition of the Coordination Council. All proposals supported by the Public Committee were rejected.

The concept of forming a new Coordination Council, approved behind the scenes by the "office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya", will inevitably lead to an even greater split in the democratic movement, disappointment in society and missed opportunities to overcome the political crisis in the country. In this case, the people of Belarus will be deprived of the opportunity to form a legitimate entity that will represent their interests. There are increased risks of vote manipulation and falsification of results Voting. There is also a high probability of leakage of personal data of Belarusian citizens who will take part in voting on a platform that does not have security certificates. This creates an increased danger for citizens to fall under new repressions.

In such conditions, we consider it impossible to participate in a blatant fraudulent campaign to deceive the citizens of Belarus. We call on political activists and citizens to refrain from participating in this obvious scam.

In 2022, two forums of democratic forces of Belarus were held, which were aimed at consolidating representatives of democratic forces and civil society in order to discuss strategic actions. More than 150 people took part in each of them. Among them were former heads of parliament, presidential candidates, scientists, human rights activists, and representatives of various initiatives. At the stage of preparing and holding the forums, there was opposition from both the authorities and representatives of the "office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya", who saw this as a threat to their activities.

We consider it relevant and important to form a National Council elected by citizens according to the model that was developed and proposed in 2022. Its implementation requires financial resources to conduct a media campaign, pay for the services of a voting platform, and conduct an audit.