18:38 Lukashenka to chair "Great Russia"

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The founding congress of a new Russian political party, likely to be chaired by Belarus president Aliaksandr Lukashenka, is scheduled to take place on May 5, 2007. According to the Russian media reports, the new party will be named "Great Russia". The party is being established by the Russian nationalists led by a member of the Russian parliament, Andrey Savelyev, who also is a henchman of the Motherland party, Dmitry Rogozin. The party's platform will be based on the ideas of the Russian revival, approved by the Congress of the Russian Communities in 1996 and on the Russian Truth, the resolution of the Russian March's organizing committee.

Mr Rogozin will not compete for the leadership in the party, leaving the space for the Belarusian president instead. According to AFN agency, negotiations with Lukashenka are already under way. However, Pavel Liogki, the Belarus president's spokesman, said that "[Lukashenka] did not receive an official invitation in this regard”.

Under the Belarus laws, Lukashenka cannot be a member of any domestic political party. At the same time, there are no restrictions regarding the president's membership with foreign parties.