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Lukashenka’s rival October 3, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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The Belarusian united opposition has chosen its single candidate for next year’s presidential elections. This piece from the Russian-language BBC site (can’t find anything in English on the subject at the beeb yet) is interesting for its description of alleged dirty tricks by the powers that be and the fact that Президент Лукашенко заявил недавно, что “в 2006 году оппозиции в Беларуси не будет” (President Lukashenka declared recently that, “by 2006 there won’t be an opposition in Belarus”).

My heart sank slightly on hearing the news that Milinkevich had been chosen over Lyabedzka. This is not because Milinkevich is a loathsome sort. I know almost nothing about him. And I think I’m not alone in this. I’m not sure what sort of profile Lyabedzka has in Belarus, but he is, at least, the leader of an established political party and his name occurs frequently in the Belarusian press, whereas this Milinkevich is an unknown. He doesn’t seem charismatic either, although maybe this isn’t such a priority in Belarus as it is in the UK or Germany.

In any case, with press coverage absent or skewed, you have to worry about how much of an impact Milinkevich will have at the elections – an unknown beardy against the omnipotent and ubiquitous Lukashenka. But he’s now the only hope. If the incumbent wins a constitution-crushing third term, this could well prove to have been the opposition’s last hurrah.

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