Organizers of People`s Referendum campaign aiming to secure majority support

The main objective of the People`s Referendum campaign is to secure the support of a majority of Belarusians and use public opinion to put pressure...

The main objective of the People`s Referendum campaign is to secure the support of a majority of Belarusians and use public opinion to put pressure on authorities, Alyaksey Yanukevich, chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front, told reporters in Minsk on Friday.

"When the people are on our side, we`ll have an instrument of pressure on any government," he said.

Mr. Yanukevich said that the organizers of the campaign were planning to use the forthcoming local elections to collect at least 50,000 signatures for holding a "people`s referendum" and would seek to gather a total of 450,000 signatures by the 2015 presidential election. If this target is met, the "Tell the Truth!" movement, the Movement for Freedom and the Belarusian Popular Front, which spearhead the People`s Referendum campaign, will demand that the election and the referendum are held simultaneously, he said. If the target is not met, the collection of signatures will last until the next parliamentary elections, he said.

Yury Hubarevich, deputy chairman of the Movement for Freedom, said that the organizers of the People`s Referendum campaign were not going to apply for the registration of a signature-collection group.

If authorities try to bring any charges against signature-collectors, they will cite a law that allows individuals to gather signatures for petitions to governmental agencies, Mr. Hubarevich said.

Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, chairman of the "Tell the Truth!" movement, said that the campaigners were aiming to collect as many signatures as possible. They campaign is necessary for not only the next presidential election but the country`s development in general, he said.

According to Alyaksandr Milinkevich, chairman of the Movement for Freedom, the campaign is intended to both put pressure on authorities and show people that opposition organizations understand their needs.