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Opposition figurehead says ready to lead Belarus during ‘transition period’

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said that her supporters had developed a procedure for holding new elections, as well as their own draft constitutional reform
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

MINSK, December 3. /TASS/. Former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who did not recognize the outcomes of the election, has stated that she is ready to lead the country "during the transition period."

"The stage of pressure and protest is inevitably followed by the dialogue stage. <…> Many have asked me whether I’m ready to lead the nation at this moment. Yes. I officially state that I am ready to head the country during the transition period," she said in a video address published by her press service on Thursday.

"Back in the summer, I promised you that I would prepare the conditions for holding the new transparent elections of the president of the Republic of Belarus. I will keep my word," she added.

Tikhanovskaya said that her supporters had developed a procedure for holding new elections, as well as their own draft constitutional reform.

"My goal is to unite the best experts and democratic forces so that Belarus approaches the new election with as few shocks as possible. The Coordination Council and the cabinet of representatives in all areas have been established with that purpose. <…> We have already developed a concept of holding new elections, a draft constitutional reform that will be held after Lukashenko leaves," she stated.

Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.

Amid the protests, Lukashenko stated that the country’s Constitution needs to be amended, noting that he is ready to share some of his powers with other branches of government. On October 2, the lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament began to accept proposals on amending the country’s main law. However, the opposition refused to discuss the amendments with the government, demanding that a new presidential election be held.