Curtain rises: 15 wannabe presidential candidates to start collecting signatures

Former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich near CEC building, 15 May 2020. Photo: Artsyom Lyava / Belsat

Over the last week, Belarus’ Central Election Commission (CEC) have 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 opposition politicians among them.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the CEC granted registration to former MP Hanna Kanapatskaya, businessmen Viktar Babaryka and Valery Tsapkala, as well as to ‘moderate’ opposition activists Volha Kavalkova (Belarusian Christian Democracy), Yury Hubarevich (for Freedom movement), Mikalai Kazlou (United Civic Party), Andrey Dzmitryeu (Tell The Truth campaign), Syarhei Cherachen (Hramada).

Election-2020: ‘Protest candidates’ denied registration, some allegedly detained

The list of registered members also includes incumbent leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, MP Aleh Haydukevich, tattoo artist and rock musician Alyaksandr Tabolich, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the wife of popular Belarusian vlogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski who had been previously turned down by the commission.

Thus, the Belarusian CEC has refused to register 40 initiative groups, including those of former political prisoner Mikalai Statkevich, his wife Maryna Adamovich, and the so called protests candidates.

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.

Pandemic vs single presidential candidate initiative: Lukashenka rubbing hands