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Two major Belarusian opposition parties withdraw candidates from elections

September 16, 2012, 1:28 UTC+3

The Belarusian Popular Front called on voters to refrain from voting because there are no fair elections in Belarus

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MOSCOW, September 16 (Itar-Tass) — The Belarusian Popular Front and the United Civil Party, the two major Belarusian opposition parties, decided to withdraw their candidates from elections to the House of Representatives of the Belarusian National Assembly at their congresses on Saturday.

Thirty-one activists of the Belarusian Popular Front and 35 candidates of the United Civil Party will lose their deputy mandates as of September 17.

The Belarusian Popular Front decided to withdraw their candidates from the race because the authorities have failed to fulfill two conditions: to free imprisoned opposition leaders from jail and include all representatives of the party in district and local election commissions.

“Our decision to withdraw our candidates will help us preserve a clear and honest position and will facilitate our work with Belarusian society. Deputy candidates from the Belarusian Popular Front carried out a great deal of work for Belarus’ future. They took part in debates, printed their party programs and held hundreds of meetings with people,” the party leader, Alexei Yanukevich, said.

In a resolution, adopted by delegates of the party congress, the Belarusian Popular Front called on voters to refrain from voting because there are no fair elections in Belarus.

Anatoly Lebedko, the leader of the United Civil Party, said that the party had used a new tactics for the first time. It can be called as “guided boycott”. The opposition party managed to battle through to the media which were illegally monopolized by the regime. Participation in debates produced a positive reaction in society. Meetings, pickets and leaflets became additional means of communication with citizens,” Lebedko said.

More than 360 candidates who contest for 110 deputy seats are registered at the parliamentary elections in Belarus scheduled for September 23.


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