Belarus opposition aims for presidency

The leader of the most influential opposition party in Belarus says he is going to challenge President Alexander Lukashenko in next year's presidential election.

"I will stand as a candidate in the next presidential election," Alexander Milinkevich said in a news conference in Minsk on Monday, AFP reported.

Milinkevich warned that in case of any fraud in the polls, his For Freedom party will stage street protests.

"Some people have reconciled themselves with dictatorship but the majority does not want to live under it," he said.

President Lukashenko, who has led Belarus since 1994, is widely expected to once again come out of the election as the winner and secure another five-year mandate in the office.

Following his defeat in 2006 vote, Milinkevich, who gained only six percent of the ballot, called for street protests.

"We do not need election where the votes are not counted. If the authorities do this there is one option -- to take to the street."

He said if elected he would push for creating a market economy in Belarus, accelerating its admission to the European Union, and developing a neutral foreign policy structure.


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