During Friday’s visit to Minsk Tractor Plant, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has accused his would-be electoral competitor Viktar Babaryka of lying.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka reiterated that he would form a new government even before the presidential election scheduled for August, 9. According to him, it is ‘normal practice’. He also commented on the reports about his allegedly offering a post of prime minister to one of fifteen wannabe presidential candidates.
“This banker [Babaryka] should think where he will work after the election. After all, we all know from school that lying is bad. In line with the Constitution, only one person in Belarus has the right to put forward a candidate for prime minister and submit this candidacy to the parliament for approval. I have not offered anything to anyone, especially him. What kind of experience does he have to become prime minister?” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka.
The Belarusian leader also mockingly suggested that another country, e.g. Russia, might have invited Babaryka to serve as Prime Minister.
Philanthropist and banker Viktar Babaryka had been Chairman of Belgazprombank Board since 2000. On May 12, when he revealed his presidential ambitions, he voluntarily resigned from his senior management job. Belgazprombank’s main shareholders from the Russian side are Gazprom and Gazprombank; in this view, he is often faulted for allegedly being linked to Moscow. At the same time, the prospective candidate has repeatedly put an emphasis on his being Belarusian. According to Babaryka, it is impossible to build an independent state when there is no solid foundation, i.e. culture and national identity.
A few days ago, Viktar Babaryka claimed he had been offered premiership in exchange for his withdrawing from the election, but he failed to specify or name any names.
The Belarusian Central Election Commission (CEC) registered 15 of 55 initiative groups. It means that over a dozen wannabe candidates got the green light for collecting signatures to be nominated for the 2020 presidential run. There are both establishment and moderate opposition politicians among them.
To officially become a presidential candidate, a contender must get 100,000 signatures for his/her nomination. The initiative groups are to be engaged in collecting signatures from May, 21 to June, 19. The names of the candidates will be made public in mid July,
On Wednesday evening, the wannabe presidential candidate announced that his team had collected over 50,000 signatures for his nomination.