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Belarus’s Tikhanovskaya launches online vote on talks between Minsk, opposition

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya underscored that the opponents of the authorities chose "not weapons, but a non-violent protest and a fair vote"
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya EPA-EFE/MARTIAL TREZZINI
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

MINSK, March 18. /TASS/. Former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya announced a nation-wide online vote on the matter of negotiation with Belarusian authorities with international mediation.

"I announce the beginning of the nationwide vote. Everyone knows that there is a crisis in the country, and we can only overcome it peacefully through negotiations with international mediation. […] We launch this vote not instead of street protests but along with street protests," Tikhanovskaya said in her video address Thursday.

She underscored that the opponents of the authorities chose "not weapons, but a non-violent protest and a fair vote."

"The more there are our votes, the louder becomes our demand to solve the crisis peacefully and without new victims," the former presidential candidate noted, adding that "a vote for negotiations is a vote for saving hundreds of inmates, who suffer in prisons for their opinion."

"This is a step towards the state where people and their views are respected, where salaries and prices are just. And, what is very important - this is a specific signal to action for international partners," Tikhanovskaya said.

She also said that the opposition launches this vote in order to "hold negotiations with those representatives of the authority who are ready to think about the future and make mature decisions, instead of prolonging the crisis until a full-on catastrophe." Tikhanovskaya believes that "there are such people" in the current authority, and that "they need negotiations no less than we do, because violence and lawlessness worsened their life, too."

According to Tikhanovskaya, the votes of the Belarusians will make it possible to achieve "decisive steps from international structures - the OSCE and the UN."

"They are ready to provide a venue and mediation, as well as coerce the regime into negotiations. The most important thing, though, is that our votes will give us back the feeling of unity, majority and power," Tikhanvoskaya said.