On Thursday, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a Belarusian opposition leader and Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s strongest election opponent, has expressed her readiness to take over the Belarusian leadership in the course of a would-be transition period.
“I officially declare that I am ready to lead Belarus during the transition period. We continue increasing pressure on Lukashenka’s regime to return power to the people. This summer I promised to hold free am fair presidential elections in Belarus. I am true to my word,” she said on Twitter.
Belarusians do realise that the regime is falling apart and the stage of dialogue will inevitably start after the stage of pressure and protest, Tsikhanouskaya stressed in her video address.
“I shoulder responsibility because I know that I am not alone. My aim is to unite the best experts and democratic forces so that Belarus could make it to the new elections with the least shock,” the politician stated.
For this purpose, the opposition created the Coordination Council and the Cabinet of Representatives; the two bodies keep working ‘in the best interest of Belarusians’, she noted. According to Tsikhanouskaya, her team developed a concept for the new elections; programs of economic support and a draft for the Constitutional reform to be held after Lukashenka resigns.
According to the Belarusian Central Election Commission, 80.1% of voters supported Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the 2020 presidential election. Belarusian officials claim that Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya got 10.12% of votes. However, on the back of announcing the results of the official exit polls, Belarusians started to take to the streets, saying that their votes were stolen.
In the wake of the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters, Tsikhanouskaya initiated the creation of the Coordination Council (СС) as part of taking urgent measures to restore law and order in Belarus as well as to ensure the transfer of power in the country. Belarus’ Prosecutor General opened a criminal case over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’. The authorities believe the body aims at seizing power in Belarus.
The members of the CC board were jailed (Liliya Ulasava (later put on house arrest), Maryia Kalesnikava, Maksim Znak) or forced out of the country (Pavel Latushka, Volha Kavalkova, Svyatlana Alexievich, Syarhei Dyleuski). Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya was also compelled to leave Belarus; now she is staying in Vilnius. In October, Russia and Belarus included Tsikhanouskaya on the interstate wanted list under Article 361-3 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (‘calls for overthrowing the constitutional order’).