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Opposition Vows To Block New Term For Lukashenka

8 September 2004 -- Opposition parties in Belarus vowed today to work together to prevent incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka from extending his term in office through a referendum.

Nikolai Statkevich, a leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (Popular Assembly), admitted the opposition in Belarus is divided but said, "When we are deprived of any prospects for democracy and the country is being turned into a monarchy, all democratic forces should be together."

At least 30 opposition groups have said they will participate in street rallies in October to protest Lukashenka's plans.

The referendum is to be held along with parliamentary elections already scheduled for 17 October.

The measure will ask voters whether Lukashenka, whose second term is due to expire in 2006, should be able to run again in presidential elections.