Belarussian opposition presidential candidate to visit Prague

Prague, Nov 12 (CTK) - Belarussian opposition politician Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, who will run in the December presidential election, will pay a visit to Prague on Monday, his aides told CTK Friday.

He will be received at the Czech Foreign Ministry.

Nyaklyayew will contest the current President Aleksandr Lukashenko who has held the post since 1994. The international community and human rights activists have criticised his authoritarian regime.

Poet Nyaklyayew is heading the opposition organisation "Tell the Truth!" that has been persecuted by the Belarussian authorities.

Twenty of its activist, including Nyaklyayew, were detained in May over alleged slander. The organisation's existence is threatened, the opposition press has reported.

The priorities of Nyaklyayew's political programme are economic transformation, good relations with Russia and the EU and the country's democratisation.

However, the Belarussian opposition is splintered and has failed to field a joint presidential candidate.

Nyaklyayew and Andrei Sannikav, head of the European Belarus movement, are Lukashenko's most serious election rivals.

The presidential election in Belarus is scheduled for December 19. Lukashenko, who is the election favourite according to analysts and the press, will defend the post for the fourth time in a row.


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