Thirty-three TV addresses by United Civic Party\'s parliamentary candidates have not been broadcast, Lyabedzka says

Thirty-three television addresses by parliamentary candidates representing the United Civic Party (UCP) have not been broadcast...


Thirty-three television addresses by parliamentary candidates representing the United Civic Party (UCP) have not been broadcast, UCP Chairman Anatol Lyabedzka said during a campaign event in downtown Minsk on Thursday evening, BelaPAN said.

The event was held near the Ryha shopping center by Mr. Lyabedzka and four other UCP candidates, namely, Stanislaw Bahdankevich, Hanna Kanapatskaya, Mikalay Kazlow and Uladzimir Ramanowski. They and common members of the party distributed flyers among passers-by and called on them to boycott the September 18-23 House of Representatives elections.

Mr. Lyabedzka described the campaign event as a response to the censoring of five-minute television addresses by UCP candidates.

He pointed out that the current House of Representatives had devised only three bills in four years. "This is like paying to an employee of Horizont for four years of work even though he assembled only three TV sets," he said.

Of the 2,500 citizens of Belarus interviewed by pollsters this past February and asked to name three current members of the House of Representatives, none of them was able to name even one, Mr. Lyabedzka said.

People do not know so-called lawmakers because they are appointed and not elected, he said.

That is why the UCP candidates will withdraw from the elections, he said.

Those who are forced to cast their ballots should vote against all candidates, however appealing some of them may be, Mr. Lyabedzka said.

He demanded the release of the political prisoners, noting that they had been imprisoned solely for their convictions.

The mother of Ihar Alinevich, who is widely viewed as a political prisoner, told those present at the campaign event about the plight of the prisoners of conscience in Belarus, and retired Police Lieutenant Colonel Kazlow described his futile attempts to prevent ballot-rigging at a polling station in Minsk in 2008. Dr. Bahdankevich, who served as head of the National Bank of Belarus between 1991 and 1995, said that it was impossible to solve the country's economic problems without changing its government. He drew the largest number of questions during a question-and-answer session that followed the candidates' speeches.

Uniformed police officers watched the event but did not intervene.