Pro-democracy demonstrators rallied outside the Belarusian Embassy in Washington on 16 February (RFE/RL)
17 February 2006 -- Election officials have registered four candidates for Belarus' presidential election next month.
The Central Election Commission said today they registered incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who is seeking a third term; opposition candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich -- who is backed by the main opposition groups; Liberal Democratic Party leader Syarhey Haydukevich; and Social Democratic Party leader Alyaksandr Kazulin.
European Union and U.S. officials as well as human rights observers have said they do not expect the 19 March election to be democratic due to the Lukashenka regime's crackdown on independent media and the political opposition.
(AFP, Belapan, ITAR-TASS)