Belarusian Opposition Could Give Up Taking Part in Parliamentary Election

MINSK. July 20 (Interfax) - Chairman of the Belarusian United Civil Party Anatoly Lebedko does not rule out that Belarusian opposition can give up taking part in the country's parliamentary election slated for September 28, 2008.

"Opposition reserves the right to withdraw its candidates several days before the voting day," Lebedko said on the air of the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Sunday.

"If we understand that 110 MPs will be appointed, not elected, we reserve such a right," he said.

Commenting on the release of opposition activists earlier detained into the July 4 blast in Minsk, Lebedko said: "People were kept from two to ten days and then were released without bringing any charges against them. It is becoming apparent that this was done to make the electoral campaign in Belarus more controllable."

"People were released from custody, but trials against members of the single opposition list started," he said.

Lebedko fears that authorities will justify their actions by the fact that "there are terrorists in the country, which means that the electoral campaign should be under tougher control of security agencies."

It was reported earlier that a number of Belarusian politicians and MPs are insisting that the broad participation of the opposition even at this early stages of the parliamentary election campaign is the main feature of the 2008 parliamentary election in the country.

Chairman of the human rights, national affairs and media committee of the lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament Yury Kulakovsky is certain that opposition is going to correct its errors and to be rather active at this election. "Opposition's problem is that it did not take part in elections and as a result it was very distant from the people," Kulakovsky told journalists.

Deputy chairman of the international and CIS affairs committee in the lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament Anatoly Krasutsky also think that a the fact that almost all political parties take part in it is a distinguishing feature of this year election. "Parties are waiting for an opportunity to make nominations," he said. "Practice shows that the final decision will be formed at the last moment. This is linked to the fact that opposition parties will nominate a single candidate," the MP said.