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Belarus Election Chief Warns Opposition

Opposition candidate Milinkevich waves to supporters during a rock concert in Minsk this evening (RFE/RL) March 18, 2006 -- The head of Belarus's Central Election Commission today accused Western countries of trying to exert pressure on the government ahead of the March 19 presidential polls.

In comments carried by the official Belta news agency, Lidya Yermoshina also cautioned opposition candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich against staging an unsanctioned rally on election day, saying it could have "unpredictable consequences."

Addressing foreign reporters in Minsk, liberal opposition candidate Alyaksandr Kazulin today reiterated claims that Lukashenka will falsify the vote.

"It is clear today that an anticonstitutional coup and a plan to keep power by force are being prepared," Kazulin said. "I don't think we need explain into which category all this enters. This is why Alyaksandr Grigoryevich [Lukashenka] may enter the ranks of state criminals after March 19. He is obviously becoming the last dictator of Europe with all its consequences. What fate awaits dictators we all know very well and it is easy to give examples: [Romania’s Nicolae] Ceaucescu, [Yugoslavia’s Slobodan] Milosevic, [Iraq’s Saddam] Hussein. Who will be next, we don't need great intellect to guess."

Lukashenka earlier warned that he will tolerate no street unrest and warned those he described as troublemakers that that he will "twist their heads off."

An authorized opposition-organized rock concert was held in Minsk today.

(Belta, Belarus TV)

Hear The Music

Hear The Music

Lavon Volski of NRM speaking to listeners of RFE/RL's Belarusian Service on February 15, 2006 (RFE/RL)

A DREAM REPUBLIC: RFE/RL is pleased to present short excerpts from some of the songs that are playing a role in the presidential-election campaign.

An excerpt from IQ-48's "Vyjscie":
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Another excerpt from "Vyjscie":
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A third excerpt from "Vyjscie":
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An excerpt from NRM's "Partyzanskaja":
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A second excerpt from "Partyzanskaja":
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An excerpt from Neuro Dubel's "Tanki":
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Another excerpt from "Tanki":
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Click on the image to view a dedicated page with news, analysis, and background information about the Belarusian presidential ballot.

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Read brief biographies of the four candidates in the March 19 election.

Click on the image to view RFE/RL's coverage of the election campaign in Belarusian and to listen to RFE/RL's Belarusian Service.