Seventeen people left in presidential race
The central election commission has granted registration to the nomination groups of 17 people who may now get registered as candidates in Belarus’ forthcoming presidential election if their groups manage to gather the required 100,000 ballot-access signatures.
A total of 19 people filed applications with the central election commission for the registration of their nomination groups, but two of them, Ilya Dabratvor, an unemployed resident of the village of Kalodzishchy near Minsk, and Natallya Starykava, a junior nurse at a health center near Homyel, failed to meet the requirement that a presidential aspirant’s nomination group should have at least 100 members, and therefore their applications were rejected.
Economist Viktar Tsyareshchanka had his nomination group registered last week, while the nomination groups of the other 16 presidential contenders were granted registration on September 27.
These are incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka; Pyotr Barysaw, a construction engineer; Syarhey Haydukevich, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party; Yury Hlushakow of the Belarusian Party of the Greens; Syarhey Ivanow, a former military officer resident in Minsk; Ryhor Kastusyow of the Belarusian Popular Front; Ivan Kulikow, a laboratory head at the Sosny nuclear research center near Minsk; Ales Mikhalevich, a former deputy chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front; poet Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, leader of the "Tell the Truth!" campaign; Uladzimir Pravalski, a business owner resident in Vitsyebsk; economist Yaraslaw Ramanchuk, deputy chairman of the United Civic Party; Vital Rymashewski of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party; Syarhey Ryzhow, an executive of a fruit and vegetable company in Vitsyebsk, Andrey Sannikaw, a former deputy foreign minister who leads an opposition group called European Belarus; Mikalay Statkevich, a veteran opposition politician who leads the unregistered Narodnaya Hramada Belarusian Social Democratic Party; and Dzmitry Uss, director general of a company called Trivium.
Some members of the central election commission voiced opposition to the registration of Mr. Nyaklyayew's nomination group, suggesting that his stays in Finland and Poland during the 10 years prior to the election meant that he was ineligible to run for president.
However, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the commission, pointed to the lack of evidence that the poet had not been a permanent resident of Belarus throughout the period. She referred to the registration of the nomination group of émigré politician Zyanon Paznyak in the previous election.
Questions were also raised over the registration of Mr. Haydukevich's nomination group, which included a few foreign citizens, but the majority of the commission's members voted in favor of the group's registration.
Mr. Pravalski called for denying registration to Mr. Lukashenka's nomination group, noting that the head of state had not submitted the application in his own person as required by the Electoral Code.
Mr. Yarmoshyna replied that the application had been submitted by Education Minister Alyaksandr Radzkow, who had produced a written authorization to act on behalf of Mr. Lukashenka.