Opposition's problems in lead up to election


July 24 was the last day for
filing applications for the registration of candidate nomination groups with
district election commissions. ERB asked politicians about problems they have
encountered so far in the run-up to this fall's parliamentary election in Belarus.
Anatol Lyabedzka, chairman of
the United Civic Party (UCP), says that difficulties emerged in Nyasvizh and
Mahilyow because the United Pro-democratic Forces (UPF) had to make last-minute
changes to the composition of local candidates' nomination groups

In Luninets, opposition
parliamentary nominee Vital Karatysh has been drafted into the army in a matter
of two days. Yuras Hubarevich, leader of the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) in
the Brest
region, says, "It was an unprecedented case in terms of call-up speed. He
was ordered to report for physical examination yesterday and is to be assigned
to a unit today."

BPF Deputy Chairman Alyaksey
Yanukevich runs in District N92 for the forth time after three unsuccessful
attempts. He says that some 600 ballots went missing during the 2003 election.
Surprisingly, the district election commission admitted the fact in its report.
In 2004, Yanukevich was disqualified the day before voting.

Syarhey Salash, who also took
part in earlier elections in Barysaw, accuses local officials of fraud. He says
that to deny him ballot access, officials visited people who endorsed his bid
and asked them to sign a blank sheet of paper. Later, they printed on it that
the person allegedly denied endorsing Salash's candidacy.

Mikalay Statkevich, leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party
"Narodnaya Hramada," recalls that during an earlier election, some members
of opposition candidates' nomination groups in Vitsyebsk region lost their
jobs, while unemployed members were offered jobs in return for quitting the
opposition camp.

"If you want to lose your
job, you should join a nomination group. If you want to find a job, you should
also join a nomination group because jobless members were offered employment in
return for quitting the group," Statkevich told ERB.

Most opposition candidates
believe that the vote count will be unfair.

Pro-Lukashenka aspirant Viktar Huminski, deputy
chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security, declined to
comment on his chances in the forthcoming race. "I cannot assess anything.
The election will assess everything," he said.

Photo — Belorusskiye Novosti