Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

Group Initiating Referendum on Car Import Duty Applies for Registration


The Belarusian Popular Front's group initiating a referendum on a controversial increase in the rates of the import duty on cars on Wednesday applied to the central election commission for registration.

If registered, the 122-strong group will be required to collect at least 450,000 signatures needed for the plebiscite to take place.

The rates of Belarus' import duty on automobiles were raised for legal entities and sole entrepreneurs to Russia’s levels on January 1. They are expected to increase for individuals on July 1, when the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia comes into full existence.

The central election commission is expected to decide on the group's registration within a month. It will take into account the justice ministry's opinion about whether the issue can be brought up for a referendum.

The BPF announced its plans to initiate the referendum in December 2009 in an attempt to prevent the import duty increase.

BPF leader Alyaksey Yanukevich said that the group would manage to gather more than a million signatures in support of the referendum.

He warned that a registration denial for the group would testify to the government's reluctance to "defend the interests of the public."