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Sixty-three of 109 newly elected lawmakers are members of Belaya Rus, the organization says


Out of the 109 people who were elected to the House of Representatives in the September 18-23 parliamentary vote, 63 are members of Belaya Rus, the pro-Lukashenka organization announced on Monday.

Alyaksandr Shatsko, deputy chairman of the organization who was reelected to the 110-seat House of Representatives as a result of the elections, told BelaPAN in January that Belaya Rus would hold a conference in October 2012, that is, after the parliamentary elections, at which it might transform into a political party.

“When this big political event is over, we’ll hold a conference and decide whether we have become a strong political force,” Mr. Shatsko said. “Our candidates in the elections will position themselves as members of a non-governmental organization. If we succeed, this will give us confidence.”

According to Mr. Shatsko, there was a lot of debate as to whether Belaya Rus should turn into a political party. “Some argued that if Belaya Rus became a party, it would lose a great part of its membership as, under the law, public servants may not be members of a political party,” he said. “Ultimately, we were evenly split on the issue. We decided there were still matters to address to first.”

However, Mr. Shatsko pointed out that Belaya Rus would eventually become a political party in any case. “The question is how soon this should happen,” he said. “We saw there was yet much to be done inside the organization for its transformation.”

Belaya Rus Chairman Alyaksandr Radzkow, a former education minister, said earlier that Belaya Rus would probably be called "the Belarusian Party of People's Unity” after becoming a political party.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka has repeatedly denied that Belaya Rus is being groomed to become a pro-presidential political party and expressed his strong opposition to the establishment of such a party. Founded in November 2007, Belaya Rus is widely believed to exist for the sole purpose of keeping Mr. Lukashenka in power.

Belaya Rus claims that it has more than 120,000 members, who include thousands of government officials and other civil servants. // BelaPAN

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