Political Parties Face Closure
One month ago the Ministry of Justice made written warnings to six political parties – BPF Party, Belarusian party of Greens, Belarusian Social-Democratic Hramada, as well as the pro-governmental Belarusian Social and Sports Party, Social Democratic Party of People's Consent, and the Republican Party. The Ministry listed the claims towards the parties’ leadership and threatened with suspension of activity or closure of the parties if the demands are not satisfied. What has happened since?
The Ministry of Justice accused the political parties of failure to create the required number of organizational structures. According to the law, political parties are to have a registered Minsk city organization and organizations in the regional centers in at least 4 regions (out of 6) of the country. If the political parties fail to meet the requirements, the Ministry of Justice warns that it will raise the issue about suspension of their activity or closure.
Yesterday the situation was discussed in the office of BPF Party. According to their leader Vincuk Viacorka, the problem is not in the absence of party structures, but in the absence of legal addresses where the existing structures could register:
“We made numerous attempts to receive legal addresses in four regions. In Rechytsa, the person who is delaing with that, has been sent away because of the Dazhynki harvesting festival. In Mahiliou they were promising for a long time, but still failed to keep their promise. May be, we’ll have more luck in other cities. We made honest attempts to get legal addresses in majority of the regional centers. There is a threat that if we don’t get legal addresses, the Ministry might suspend our activity”, -- the politician told to RFE/RL.
Head of the BPF committee for legal affairs Uladzimir Labkovich added: “We carried out a founding conference of Vitebsk regional organization of BPF. Last Thursday the application for registration was sent to Vitebsk regional department of justice. In case the justice department registers it, I hope the claims of the Ministry will be satisfied”.
Mr. Viachorka commented the actions of the Ministry of Justice towards BPF Party:
“The authorities are mopping-up the political field from the strongest political structures before the so-called “parliamentary elections”.
We still don’t know how the Ministry of Justice will treat the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada (Shushkevich's party). The matter is, in the beginning the ministry made a mistake and sent the warning to Kazulin’s Social Democrats. But then they saw the mistake and apologized. That is why Shushkevich’s Party received the warning only on August 28th. Party activist Sviatlana Hubeika says:
“On September 12th we received an approved statute and certificate. I couldn’t organize conferences in all 5 structures simultaneously. We have all the needed legal addresses, but they are still not approved by the Ministry. However, we have all the agreements, and all the founding conferences have already been carried out. On Wednesday we will send the last application for registration to the justice department of Minsk region”.