Ronald J. McNamara led a lively discussion regarding Belarus’s, at the time, upcoming presidential elections in the spring of 2006. The briefing centred around Belarus’s “decade of dictatorship” under Aleksander Lukashenko, a ruler who has disposed of past opposition, silenced independent voices and manipulated the political system to illegally maintain his hold on power in Belarus. In lieu of the upcoming presidential elections, repression in Belarus intensified.
Aldis Kuskis, Barbara Kudrycka, and Harald Gunther commented on the significant common ground in policy toward Belarus on both sides of the Atlantic. Kuskis and Kudrycka described the European Parliament’s most broadcasting initiative regarding Belarus while Gunther spoke on behalf of the presidency of the European Union.
The briefing addressed interferences with the signature collection process candidates need to register. Authorities harassed activists gathering signature for opposition candidates, making the pre-election environment less conducive to a free and fair election process.