Updated at 17:58,12-04-2021

Milinkevich gathers ballot-access signatures in Minsk


Alyaksandr Milinkevich and members of his nomination group on Monday gathered ballot-access signatures near a shopping center in Minsk.

Among those helping the former presidential candidate's campaign to get registered as a candidate in September's parliamentary elections was Andrey Klimaw, a prominent opposition politician who was a political prisoner in the past.

"I like that he does not change his convictions. For the sake of Belarus he is not afraid to run in an election sanctioned by the government," Mr. Klimaw said.

"It is not pressure from abroad, not economic sanctions, not travel bans imposed on government officials that would make the situation change for the better, it is people's civil stance that would. Belarusians must open their eyes sooner or later," he said.

Mr. Milinkevich explained why he was against a boycott of the elections.

"A boycott is the expression of an attitude toward the authorities and elections, which we don’t have. This is a stance. But I believe politics is actions and results. What result can a boycott yield? It can only plunge society into an even bigger depression because of the absence of an alternative. When you approach people and say who you are, what platform you have and what you can do, you give rise to optimism."

He noted that "as long as the economy is kept afloat through Russian subsidies, the government may choose not to hold democratic elections." "But we rather need Western investments and technologies. However, the West conditions that on democratization," Mr. Milinkevich said.

"Sooner or later there will be a discussion in the legislature," Mr. Milinkevich said. "People will be introducing bills, there will be a true vote and then a discussion on the future of the country will be revived."