Numerous reports from observers, polls, and electronic voting suggest Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya won the 2020 election. But she did not take office as the official election results were rigged, and thus her status is seen as President-elect. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya’s mission in this role is to ensure a transition period and hold a new election.

Unable to take office, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya fulfills the role of the National Leader of Belarus. Together with the United Transitional Cabinet, she represents Belarus in the international arena and in international organizations. Many foreign leaders and politicians refer to her as President-Elect. In foreign trips, Ms. Tsikhanouskaya is received as the Head of State, although she has not taken a formal position.

Why is defining the President-elect status important now? The reason is that the Lukashenka regime is not legitimate, the dictator himself dragged Belarus into the war and led the country into a state of de facto occupation. Lukashenka’s actions may be regarded as high treason, as he has made Belarus a co-aggressor in the war against Ukraine to serve the interests of Russia contrary to the Constitution of Belarus. He also illegally deprives Belarusians of international protection of their rights, since he has not been authorized by the voters to sign international treaties on behalf of Belarus, like the law on denunciation of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In this context, the Belarusian people must have a political institution representing their interests. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is the only representative who has a mandate from the Belarusian people. And it is she, together with the United Transitional Cabinet, who has assumed the responsibility for preserving the sovereignty of Belarus and representing Belarus as a nation.

Photo by Dziyana Aliasiuk

Source: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya