Updated at 16:42,06-12-2016

Supreme Court Upholds Registration Denial for Belarusian Party of Working People

The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down an appeal filed by the Belarusian Party of Working People (BPWP) against a registration denial by the justice ministry, BPWP leader Alyaksandr Bukhvostaw told BelaPAN.

"The decision was expected," he said, adding that the party had refused to submit some documents requested by the justice ministry while it had been considering its registration application.

Mr. Bukhvostaw acknowledged that the party's founding committee had made some mistakes. In particular, the new party had the same abbreviated name that its predecessor, the Belarusian Party of Labor, which is in violation of the Political Parties Law.

The politician revealed that 15 activists had withdrawn their signatures from the party's founding documents, which he said also influenced the Supreme Court's ruling. "I don't know whether this has been orchestrated from outside or they have taken offence at the leadership of the founding committee," he said.

Mr. Bukhvostaw stressed that all of the mistakes made by the party's leaders could be repaired. "But we have failed to establish a constructive dialogue with the justice ministry. This confirms [suggestions] that the justice ministry's current methods of work make the establishment of a new political party almost impossible," he said.

The party will continue its activities, he noted. "We have proved in court that we have enough people for the party's registration. We may hold a founding conference again next year," Mr. Bukhvostaw said.

The party’s application for state registration was rejected in late October. The actual number of the party's founders was smaller than the required minimum, the justice ministry explained.

The ministry asked the BPWP to submit the minutes of the meetings held by the organizing committee for the founding conference and other papers relating to the conference, but the BPWP refused to do so, explaining that the minutes had been examined by the mandate commission.

The founding committee did not comply even after the ministry had decided to postpone its decision on the registration application and given the BPWP time to submit the required papers, the ministry said.
The ministry also accused the BPWP of providing false information about its founders.

The BPWP founding committee filed the registration application with the justice ministry on August 24.
Sixty-five delegates reportedly attended the party’s founding conference, which took place in Minsk on July 26. They adopted the party's program and charter.

Mr. Bukhvostaw, a prominent trade union leader, was elected chairman of the party and Mikalay Pakhabaw and Andrey Yewdakimovich were elected deputy chairmen.

The Belarusian Party of Working People is viewed as the successor to the Belarusian Party of Labor, which was closed in 2004.

The Belarusian Party of Labor was founded in 1993 and led by Mr. Bukhvostaw for most of its existence. It was outlawed by the Supreme Court in August 2004 for allegedly providing false information about its membership and failing to obtain a valid legal address and abide by its own charter.