It has been almost 1.5 years of A. Lukashenko’s second presidential cadence. There’s still plenty of time before the new election that is to take place in 2006. Yet, the issue of A. Lukashenko’s third presidential term has already become topical for the educated Belarusian (and not only!) public. Lukashenko himself has many times transparently implied the possibility of such scenario. Knowing power ambitions of the president, it is worth seriously regarding his words. Political scientists also point out to the probability of another cadence and explain the fact mainly with the lack of guaranties (both in the country and outside the country) for A. Lukashenko’s safe retirement to political pension. Eventually, due amendments into the country’s constitution are necessary for the procedure and their introduction by referendum, despite the unconcealed support on the part of the Central Election Commission, would demand considerable organizational efforts and time. Especially since the negative outcomes of the chosen political and socio-economic course in the country are getting more and more manifest.

Average leaders and experts’ estimation (on a standard 5-point scale) of A. Lukashenko’s fulfillment of his pre-election engagements proves the fact. As Table 1 demonstrates, it is a trivial “two”. Moreover, 42% of the respondents estimated fulfillment of engagements to “one”.

Table 1. Distribution of answers to the question “How would you estimate (on a standard 5-point scale) Lukashenko’s fulfillment of his pre-election engagements (1 point – very poor, 5 points – excellent)?”, %

Poor is the degree of confidence to A. Lukashenko on the part of leaders and experts as well as general public (See Table 2). In the confidence index, only militia, local authorities, national assembly, pro-presidential political parties traditionally ranking the last as well as the Belarusian Trade Unions Federation and the Central Election Commission rank after the president. Among the citizens in general, the number of non-confiding into the president exceeds by 10.1% the number of those confiding into him and the figure is close to a half among the country’s adult population.

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question on the degree of confidence to A. Lukashenko, %

Variant of answer
Leaders of public opinion and experts
National poll (12’02)
All respondents
Public sector employees
Private sector employees
Index of confidence*

* Index of confidence can range from +1 to –1 and is calculated as a partial of the total amount of positive (“trust”) and negative (“distrust”) answers against the number of all respondents that answered the question

Therefore, president’s imagemakers should presently exert all efforts to achieve the goals of their boss. In fact, this kind of activity has already taken place. It’s enough to remember the public statement of Leonid Kozik, currently Chairman of the Belarusian Trade Unions Federation, on the necessity to remove any records on the number of president’s cadences from the constitution. Of course, by referendum.
Table 3 demonstrates that at present leaders and experts don’t have a single opinion, as regards this referendum. About one third of the polled (23%) believes no referendum will be carried at all and one third finds it difficult to answer right now. Meanwhile, 44% say the referendum will take place, two thirds of them being certain the event will happen in 2004. It is noteworthy that the respondents from the private sector have lesser doubts on the possibility of the referendum.

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question “Will the referendum on amending the Constitution of Belarus so that A. Lukashenko can be further elected president be held (in accordance with the current constitution, he cannot be elected for the third term)?”, %

According to Table 4, there’s a considerably greater part of those who claim they know a candidate able to successfully compete with A. Lukashenko among the leaders and experts than among the general public. There are only 18.2% of them among general public and exactly 50% – among the elite. At the same time, they are about three thirds (74%) among the representatives of the private sector and barely 25% – in the public sector.

Table 4. Distribution of answers to the question “Do you know a candidate able to successfully compete with A. Lukashenko during the presidential election?”, %

Variant of answer
Leaders of public opinion and experts
National poll (12’02)
All respondents
Public sector employees
Private sector employees
Yes, I know
No, I don’t no
However, the data once again demonstrates that presently neither the general public nor the elite are able to choose a candidate for a national leader able to oppose A. Lukashenko and consolidate the part of the society that strives for the country’s democratization and for changes in its socio-economic and political course.