Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

New opposition coalition may nominate single presidential contender

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The members of a new opposition coalition to be formed next month are considering the possibility of nominating a single contender to represent them in the 2015 presidential election, Anatol Lyabedzka, chairman of the United Civic Party, told BelaPAN.

The coalition will include the United Civic Party, the "Spravedlivy Mir" (Just World) Belarusian Party of the Left, Belaruski Rukh (Belarusian Movement), the Belarusian Party of Working People, the Belarusian Women’s Party "Nadzeya," Campaign for Fair Elections, and a youth organization called Maladaya Belarus, Mr. Lyabedzka said.

The Narodnaya Hramada Belarusian Social Democratic Party and Belarusian Christian Democracy currently decide whether to join the coalition, he said, adding that independent trade unions might also become its members.

"What currently unites our seven organizations is the belief that free and fair elections are necessary to raise living standards in Belarus," Mr. Lyabedzka said. "Our goal is to restore people’s right to choose. Conferences will be held in the regions within a month to unite the regional coalitions around a common cause. Participants at the conferences will nominate delegates to a national conference to be held in Minsk on September 22."

An agreement on the formation of the coalition will be signed during the September 22 conference, Mr. Lyabedzka said.

According to him, the members of the new coalition have the political will to participate in the 2014 local elections with a common message to voters and a common list of contenders. "And we also have the will to nominate a single presidential hopeful," Mr. Lyabedzka said.

In May 2013, the "Tell the Truth!" movement, the Movement for Freedom and the Belarusian Popular Front announced that they had reached an agreement on long-term strategic partnership and would cooperate during the following local, presidential and parliamentary elections at the very least and hold a "people’s referendum."