MINSK, September 10. /TASS/. Belarus’ Central Election Commission on Thursday will register candidates for Belarusian president who will be elected on October 11.
Initiative groups of only four out of six contenders who filed registration documents have managed to collect the required 100,000 signatures of voters, the Central Elecion Commission said.
Thus, among those to be registered are incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Sergei Gaidukevich, activist of the Tell the Truth campaign Tatiana Korotkevich and leader of the Belarusian Patriotic Party Nikolai Ulakhovich.
The package of registration documents included income and property declarations of potential candidates and their relatives. The Central Elections Commission is supposed to publish these declarations after registration of candidates for president.
Under the Belarusian laws, registered candidates can begin canvassing campaigns immediately after registration. Along with publishing their programmes in printed media, they can take part in TV and radio broadcast debates. Televised debates are planned for October 3.
More than 140 international observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE] and the Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS] have already been accredited to monitor the elections. The election campaign and the political climate in the country were scrutinized by a preliminary mission of observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. At a meeting with the leaders of the Belarusian opposition, European lawmakers asked their opinion about the first stage of the election campaign (signature collecting) and about their expectations from the forthcoming canvassing campaign.
The opposition leaders said the current elections campaign "lacks certain progress" as compared with the one in 2010. Thus, they said, "very few representatives of democratic forces" were allowed into territorial election commissions. Apart from that, the candidates had unequal conditions for signature raising, with state-run mass media outlets focusing on "only one candidate.".