UCP urges Lukashenka to end censoring of addresses
The United Civic Party (UCP) has called on Alyaksandr Lukashenka to ensure that the television and radio addresses by candidates for the House of Representatives are not censored and to send the head of the central election commission, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, into retirement.
In an open letter, the United Civic Party asks the Belarusian leader to reverse the commission's decision that addresses to voters in which parliamentary candidates call for boycotting the forthcoming should not be broadcast.
The letter is addressed to Mr. Lukashenka and not the central election commission because it is the Presidential Administration that masterminds all election campaigns, UCP Chairman Anatol Lyabedzka told reporters in Minsk on Tuesday.
Despite the fact that the election campaign has not yet gone into full swing, is it already plagued by scandals, the letter says.
"The ongoing election campaign does not allow citizens to express their will by electing the worthiest candidates for the country's main legislative body," the UCP says. "For example, UCP representatives are not allowed to make either radio or television addresses to citizens. They are accused of promoting an election boycott."
The party cites a televised remark made by Mr. Lukashenka just ahead of the 1995 parliamentary elections, "I won't vote for anyone. They'll cheat me anyway," and calls on him to eliminate double standards and allow parliamentary candidates to repeat his words.
The party asks the Belarusian leader to explain why a UCP candidate was not permitted to say on air that Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his system were a dead end. "After all, this is not an insult, this is a matter of discussion, and we have facts to substantiate our claim," the letter says.
The UCP calls on Mr. Lukashenka to tell the 59-year-old Yarmoshyna that she should not be carried away with "juggling figures." "In fact, it would be logical to send her into deserved retirement," the party says. "She has already done her bit to improve and develop the election process in Belarus."
The UCP urges the non-state media to provide support to the candidates whose television and radio addresses to voters had been broadcast because of censorship.
Mr. Lukashenka appointed Ms. Yarmoshyna chairperson of the central election commission in 1996. All of the presidential and parliamentary polls held in Belarus ever since have been declared undemocratic by OSCE observation missions.