Oppression of Political Parties Continues
On September 21 regional Justice Departments started extra-ordinary check-ups of local BPF Party structures. According to the BPF Board, over 10 local branches of the party were visited by inspectors that day. The inspectors with the regional Justice Departments were mostly interested in protocols of delegate nomination to the congress of BPF party which nominated candidates for the parliament.
At the same time, the BPF Board received a letter from the Ministry of Justice. Signed by Minister Halavanaw, the letter says “in connection with office needs” the party is suggested to present all documents regarding the party congress in a 3-days term.
It’s worth mentioning that this is the second time the Ministry requires the same documents. BPF had already provided the Ministry with all documents regarding the August 29 congress. Besides that, the congress went in the presence and under strict control of Justice Ministry officials N. Fishkina and A. Kharyton.
It’s indicative that the Justice Ministry started the check-ups right in the middle of the election campaign. We asked Uladzimir Labkovich, BPF Board secretary, to comment on the situation:
“Yesterday the party chairperson Vincuk Viachorka and I were invited for a talk by deputy head of the Ministry’s NGO Department Slizhewski. Mainly the conversation rotated around the activities of the civic initiative “5+”. Mr. Slizhewski emphasized that the Ministry desires to have a constructive cooperation with political parties, and expressed no claims to the party activity. That’s why the demands of the Ministry were quite surprising. Moreover, we have already presented the Ministry with information about our party structures three times this year.
I have an impression that somebody is using any means to declare nomination of candidates by our party invalid. Probably, the authorities are unhappy about the number of registered pro-democratic candidates”.