Belarusian Christian Democracy calls for peaceful transfer of power

The main task facing BCD in the context of the forthcoming parliamentary elections is to prevent the legitimization of the House of Representatives...


Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) proposes a peaceful power transition scenario to Alyaksandr Lukashenka, BCD Co-chairman Vital Rymashewski said at the party’s founding conference held in Minsk on Saturday.

Vital Rymashewski According to the former presidential candidate, the scenario consists of three points: the unconditional release and exoneration of all political prisoners, free and fair elections, and financial assistance from the European Union for overcoming the economic crisis in Belarus.

“We believe that Alyaksandr Lukashenka would not win in a free and fair election,” Mr. Rymashewski said. “But the Belarusian authorities are doing everything for the nation to experience a revolution, not a peaceful transfer of power.”

The main task facing BCD in the context of the forthcoming parliamentary elections is to prevent the legitimization of the House of Representatives, Mr. Rymashewski noted. “The pro-democracy forces have not yet had any action plan regarding these parliamentary elections, while the authorities have one: to let two or three opposition figures become members of the House and them represent the elections as fair and democratic,” he said.

The participation of BCD in the elections would mean “a betrayal of the political prisoners and a betrayal of the Belarusian people,” Mr. Sevyarynets stressed.

In his video address played during the conference, Paval Sevyarynets, another BCD co-chairman currently serving a three-year corrective labor term in the Brest region, called for an active boycott of the elections.

Participants at the conference reelected Messrs. Rymashewski and Sevyarynets, as well as Heorhiy Dzmitruk, as chairmen of the party, while the fourth co-chairman, Alyaksey Shein, had resigned, saying that he would not have enough time to properly perform the ensuing functions. He had stressed that he would remain a BCD member.

Dzyanis Sadowski was reelected as BCD executive secretary.

The conference, which was held at the Culture Palace of Minsk Tractor Works, began with a collective prayer and the collective singing of "Mahutny Bozha" (Oh, Lord Almighty), a Belarusian-language religious anthem, with about 100 delegates in attendance.

The founding conference came as part of another attempt to have the party registered by the justice ministry. The ministry has denied registration to BCD three times, twice in 2009 and once in 2010. The ministry explained that there was evidence of violations of the procedure in the nomination of delegates to the founding conferences, that false information had been provided about founders, and that some people had been stated as founders without their knowledge. BCD accused authorities of using pressure to make people withdraw their signatures from the list of the party's founders.

The registration of the party would mean that its activists would no longer be liable for prosecution under the Criminal Code's Article 193.1, which penalizes acting on behalf of an unregistered organization. However, BCD says that it has little hope that the party will be registered this time.

Not a single political party has been registered in Belarus in the last decade.