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Milinkevich and his wife, following his registration as a candidate in the March 2006 presidential vote (RFE/RL)
February 15, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Belarus's leading opposition figure says he will not participate in a congress of the country's pro-democratic forces scheduled for next month.
Alyaksandr Milinkevich, who was the united opposition candidate in the March 2006 presidential election, says he objects to a congree proposal to create a rotating chairmanship in the coalition of opposition forces.
"I am not afraid of competition and am ready to enter the struggle for leadership [of the opposition] once again," he told RFE/RL's Belarus Service. "But when the coalition decided that there would be a rotation, I immediately said that I am not interested.
Rotation means that there is no leader, and that all are leaders, at the same time. Everyone becomes a leader for a few months and is subsequently replaced. You can be a leader once every three years. [But] you cannot beat the dictatorship with such an unclenched fist."
Milinkevich says he does not want to participate in "internal squabbling" and accused opposition party leaders of vying for control rather than organizing cooperative efforts.
The opposition congress is scheduled for March 17-18.