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OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE VOWS TO FREE BELARUS FROM FEAR... Alyaksandr Milinkevich, the united opposition candidate in the 19 March vote, pledged in a televised address to voters on 22 February to radically change the style of governance and free his country from the grip of fear. "Authorities in a future Belarus will be elected, not appointed," Milinkevich said. "The person will be given priority over the state. The government will not rule the person, but the person will determine the country's policies.... Freedom will give people an opportunity to lead a decent life." Milinkevich said the opposition is against staging a "colored revolution" in Belarus like those that followed elections in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. But he added that if the authorities rig the election, people will have the right to take to the streets to defend their votes. "If people take to the streets, we, on our part, will do everything so that this will be a peaceful demonstration as required by the constitution. And we hope very much that the authorities will act in the same manner and not use force," Milinkevich said. JM

UKRAINIAN MINISTER REPORTS ON CRIMINAL RECORD OF PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATES. Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko told journalists on 22 February that his ministry's check of party election lists registered for the 26 March parliamentary elections revealed that some candidates have criminal records, Interfax-Ukraine reported. Search warrants had been issued for 11 candidates, 37 candidates are involved in ongoing criminal proceedings, another 41 candidates have recently had their criminal cases sent to court, and 10 candidates have past convictions. JM