A delegation of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly met with opposition leaders in Minsk on Monday. Led by Swedish MP Cecilia Wigstrom, the delegation arrived in the Belarusian capital earlier in the day on a two-day visit.
The meeting was attended by Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civic Party; Syarhey Kalyakin, chairman of the Belarusian Party of Communists; Anatol Lyawkovich, leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party "Hramada;" former presidential candidate Alyaksandr Kazulin; Yury Hubarevich, deputy chairman of the Movement for Freedom; Vital Rymashewski, co-chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party; and Zmitser Dashkevich, leader of the Malady Front youth group.
As Mr. Lyabedzka told BelaPAN, Ms. Wigstrom said at the meeting that the purpose of the visit was to monitor the situation in Belarus ahead of next year's local elections.
Under discussion also was a bill of amendments to the Electoral Code that passed the National Assembly earlier this month. The opposition leaders criticized the legislation, saying that it would not secure free and fair elections.
The politicians acknowledged that contacts between the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Working Group on Belarus and the Belarusian opposition had recently become less intensive. "We do not understand the motives of this process. For instance, there used to be traditional discussions attended by members of the House of Representatives and the opposition in the past. A near-future plan of action was developed at them," Mr. Lyabedzka said.
The opposition politicians suggested that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly discuss the situation in Belarus at its February session. The Assembly's delegation promised to explore such a possibility, according to Mr. Lyabedzka.