Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

UDF moving ahead with idea of pilot primaries in Orsha district

A plan for holding presidential primaries in the Orsha district, Vitsyebsk region, will be devised within a week, Anatol Lyabedzka, chairman of the United Civic Party (UCP), told BelaPAN on Monday.

The United Democratic Forces initially planned to conduct nationwide primaries to select the opposition coalition’s single presidential contender, but after neither member organization of the coalition put forward its candidate, the UCP proposed conducting primaries in a test mode in the Orsha district.

Before conducting primaries nationwide, it is necessary to have answers to a number of questions, in particular whether authorities will allow the opposition coalition to properly conduct the primaries and whether the coalition will manage to involve large numbers of people in the process, UCP Deputy Chairman Lew Marholin told reporters at the end of October. "The Orsha district suits perfectly to pilot primaries, as influential pro-democratic groups exist in the district and all major political forces are represented there," Mr. Marholin said.

"Local activists of the coalition’s member organizations are to arrive in Minsk in a week and bring a draft plan," Mr. Lyabedzka said. "In general, there is a favorable attitude in the Orsha district toward the primaries, which are expected to be held in January 2010."