Uladzimier Nyaklyayeu said that Tatsyana Karatkevich, the only member of the opposition who stands a chance of being registered as a presidential candidate to challenge long-term incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the 11 October polls, should withdraw from the presidential race in order to «rescue the opposition.»
«It would be the strongest of all possible moves. She would rescue the opposition and pull herself out of the mire into which she is now sinking — with the help, of course, of those in the secret services entrusted with such matters. They are determined to pull the opposition to the very bottom.»
Nyaklyayeu and some other opposition politicians in Belarus believe that the authorities want to register Tatsyana Karatkevich as a presidential candidate only in order to give the ongoing election campaign the semblance of a free democratic process. They are skeptical about the validity of signatures of support collected by Karatkevich staffers, and have called on Karatkevich to allow other members of the opposition to examine these signatures.
Apart from Karatkevich, who claims to have collected 107,000 signatures in her support, four other contenders say they have gathered the more than 100,000 signatures necessary to obtain access to the presidential ballot. Lukashenka’s team claims to have collected 1.7 million signatures. The opposition widely considers the other three hopefuls to be nothing but ersatz contenders in a phony race.