Lukashenka’s election office head denies forced collection of signatures

Mikhail Orda, Chairman of the Belarusian Federation of Trade Unions and head of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s election office, has commented on the recent reports and complaints about compelling Belarusians to back another presidential nomination of the sitting head of state.

The top official called them ‘leaking fake news’ to the independent press and referred to the article published by the newspaper Nasha Niva at the beginning of the presidential campaign.

“The scheme is very simple. Someone fabricates an official letter that is supposed to be a proof of forcibly adding people to the initiative group of the incumbent president. Naturally, all surnames and names turn out to be fictitious, as well as the fact of compulsory inclusion in the group,” Mikhail Orda said on Facebook.

Such information is verified, but not a single case has been confirmed, the trade union leader stresses. In suvh a way, unknown individuals just make money on tarnishing the image of Lukashenka, he believes.

In fact, many complaints about alleged attempts to make people sign for Alyaksandr Lukashenka are sent to the editorial offices of independent media outlets, including Belsat TV.

People wait in line to sign for Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Baranavichy

For example, our viewers from Nyasvizh informed the channel of their employer’s demand to put their signature in support of the Belarusian leader; they were reportedly threatened with dismissal. Similar messages come from many corners of the country. At the same time, in fear of retaliation, people fail to are afraid to reveal their full names and voice the problems on condition of anonymity. When reached by Belsat, public servants and heads of state enterprises mentioned by our sources claim that such cases have never occured.

Earlier, Belsat TV tried to find out how many signatures for Lukashenka were collected by the pro-government association Belaya Rus. But, according to the representatives, each of offices does not count them on a standalone basis. In turn, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has recently stated that 200,000 signatures in favour of him were collected within four days in Belarus.

Last week, 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 announced in mid July, and the election will be held on August, 9.

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