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Kazulin Decries Belarus Elections As Not 'Legitimate, Honest'


Kazulin (center) with U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush on September 25

Kazulin (center) with U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush on September 25

WASHINGTON/PRAGUE (RFE/RL) -- One of the Belarusian opposition's most influential leaders has rejected the country's upcoming parliamentary elections as fundamentally flawed and illegitimate.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Belarus Service during a trip to Washington, Alyaksandr Kazulin also said it was "very important not to be carried away by horse-trading but to focus on the main things: human values, freedom, human rights, democracy, and all that on which we stand."

A country whose elections have consistently been dismissed as undemocratic under President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarus holds national elections on September 28 in which nearly one-quarter of all candidates competing for 110 legislative seats represent opposition parties.

But a debate has raged among opposition members over whether or not to participate in voting that is certain to hand a majority to Lukashenka allies.

"I want to underscore that the elections taking place in our country cannot be recognized as democratic, legitimate, honest, or transparent," Kazulin said. Nevertheless, Kazulin said, "I am in favor of participating in the elections to the maximum extent possible and of collecting evidence of falsifications and violations that could become the foundation for a report on these elections by the OSCE/ODIHR mission."
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