Syarhey Haydukevich, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, on October 8 announced his decision to withdraw from Belarus’ presidential race, condemning the campaign as a show.
The politician, whose party is seen by many analysts as a "pocket opposition" devised to give the appearance of political competition, submitted an official statement confirming his withdrawal from the race to the central election commission on Friday morning.
"Elections in Belarus are just a show, and everybody knows well its outcome," Mr. Haydukevich commented to BelaPAN. The politician said that his participation in the campaign was meant to show that voters support him.
The Liberal Democratic Party is the strongest political party in the country, he said, noting that his nomination group had already gathered the 100,000 voter signatures enabling him to get access to the ballot.
"I know that people support me, but we believe that it makes no sense to participate in the election campaign further," he said. Mr. Haydukevich had the biggest nomination group among the presidential contenders; it included 10,483 people.
Fifteen presidential hopefuls have remained in the race following the withdrawal of the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. Mr. Haydukevich was named the Liberal Democratic Party’s nominee for the next presidential election as far back as 2008. He ran in the previous two presidential races. According to the central election commission, he gained 2.5 percent of the vote in 2001 and 3.5 percent in 2006.
He was a member of the House of Representatives between 2004 and 2008.
His Liberal Democratic Party would not be considered liberal or democratic in any Western political system.
Mr. Haydukevich and his party are known to have had friendly ties with Iraq's Baath party during Saddam Hussein’s rule.