During Friday’s visit to Polatsk, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka elaborated on his presidential campaigning. A fragment of his speech was aired on state-run TV channel Belarus-1.
“When meeting with the head of my initiative group, I asked them to continue gathering signatures, although 1.5 million have already been collected. Many thanks to the people who put their signatures in my support,” Alyaksandr Lukashenka said.
As of 1 November 2019, there were 6,880,605 voters in Belarus. Therefore, if Lukashenka’s words are anything to go by, more than 21% of them signed for him.
With about 40,000 signatures collected, former banker Viktar Babaryka is currently taking the lead among alternative candidates. In turn, Valery Tsapkala, a former head of the Belarusian Hi-Tech Park, ex-MP Hanna Kanapatskaya and businesswoman Natallya Kisel said their initiative groups had collected 100,000 signatures. In accordance with the electoral law, it is enough for the nomination for the presidential election.
Andrey Dzmitryeu and Syarhei Cherachan claim the goal is within their teams’ reach; Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, however, says she does not know how many people have signed for her by now.
In May, the Belarusian Central Election Commission 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 moderate opposition politicians among them.
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 made public in mid July.