Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Movement for Freedom will take part in elections, supporting democratic candidates

The Council of the Movement for Freedom on January 30 adopted a resolution suggesting that all pro-democratic candidates in the forthcoming House of Representatives elections should withdraw from the race at some point if at least one political prisoner continued to be imprisoned in the country.

Opposition candidates should also quit if electoral practices do not improve, the Council said.

It said that having no legal status of political party, the Movement for Freedom will not nominate its activists for registration as a candidate but is ready to support pro-democratic candidates who are of high authority and share its values.

A key priority for opposition forces is to use the parliamentary campaign to reach out to the voters, said the Council.

The opposition should propose an alternative to the Lukashenka regime and secure increased support for democratic values among the population, it noted.

There is no true parliament in Belarus, with the authorities continuing to restrict the citizens’ civil rights and freedoms in violation of the constitution and refuse to liberalize national electoral regulations, as well as its enforcement in pursuance of recommendations by the Belarusian pro-democratic community and the OSCE, said the Council.

There are still political prisoners in the country, and the authorities continue to pursue "a dangerous policy of isolating the country from democratic states and building closer relations with authoritarian regimes that also do not respect the principles of democracy and human rights", it said.

The Council has called on pro-democratic groups to jointly organize a national-level campaign to monitor possible violations of electoral regulations during the campaign and inform the voters about them.