Lukashenka’s unexpected rival publishes presidential programme

Presidential hopeful Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has her presidential programme released; the document is available on her official webpage.

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Photo:

In broad terms, her programme is divided into parts which are devoted to the work of the courts, anti-corruption measures, housing sector, the development of local councils, economy, foreign policy, etc.

The candidate stresses that she is running for presidency to win back Belarusian citizens’ right of choice. According to her, the major goal is to have a ‘real and fair’ presidential election with the participation of all alternative candidates. She states it will be held six months after her contemplated victory.

“I am not a politician <…> I am going to perform my mission and quietly step aside. And Belarus will be ruled by a new, decent president,” she said at Sunday’s pre-election rally in Homiel.

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya urges the citizens of Belarus not to vote early, but convince their friends, neighbours and acquaintances to come to the polls on August 9, the official election day. The presidential aspirant also calls on compatriots to become independent observers at polling stations and protect their votes.

In addition, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya promises to conduct reforms in the field of healthcare, education and pension system.

Presidential wannabe Tsikhanouskaya: ‘They threatened to jail me, take kids away’

In May, Svyatlana’s husband Syarhei Tsikhanouski, the author of Youtube channel Страна Для Жизни (A Country for Life), revealed his presidential ambitions while serving a 15-day jail term for participating in unauthorised mass events.

However, the Belarusian Central Election Commission refused to register his initiative group. According to them, only a person who intends to campaign for the presidency must sign the documents. As Syarhei Tsikhanouski was in custody at that moment, all the necessary documents were signed and filed by his wife. On the back of the situation, his wife Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya managed to get her initiative group registered instead.

On May 29, the police arrested Syarhei Tsikhanouski, head of his wife’s nomination group, and at least 15 persons during a peaceful picket in Hrodna. It should be noted that one of the women (Alena K.) who showed up at the picket attempted to stir up a conflict with Tsikhanouski, which resulted in pushing and jostling. According to the official version, one policeman fell down and had to be taken to hospital. On May 30, the Interior Ministry initiated criminal investigation into an alleged act of violence against two police officers.

Later, the Belarusian Investigative Committee stated that Syarhei Tsikhanouski and nine other persons were charged under Art. 342-1 (planning actions that grossly violate public order) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. The above article may carry a punishment of up to 3 years in prison. Belarusian human rights watchdogs recognised eight defendants in the case as political prisoners.

Arrests and charges: Why Lukashenka sees bloggers as real threat to his presidency