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Friday, 15 September, 2000, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Belarus election campaign begins

The parliamentary election campaign in Belarus is underway following the end of pre-election registration.

The Belarussian authorities say almost eight hundred candidates have declared their intention to contest seats in the lower house of parliament.

The poll, scheduled for mid-October, is the first parliamentary election since President Lukashenka disbanded the former parliament and hand-appointed a new one following a referendum in 1996.

The BBC Eurasia analyst says the elections are expected to be divisive and controversial.

President Lukashanka has declared no candidate can stand in opposition as all politicians must work together.

Several major opposition parties have called for the elections to be ignored and a number of activists calling for a boycott have been arrested.

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