Belarusian Lower-House Head Resigns

Uladzimir Kanaplyou, the chairman of the Chamber of Representatives, has tendered his resignation, Interfax reported on September 11. Kanaplyou reportedly explained that his health no longer allows him to perform his duties. Kanaplyou was a key supporter of presidential candidate Alyaksandr Lukashenka in 1994 and his main aide in 1994-96, after Lukashenka was elected president. Kanaplyou became the chairman of Belarus's lower house in November 2004. "I don't think that Alyaksandr Lukashenka has had a closer associate than Kanaplyou," political commentator Alyaksandr Fyaduta, who was Lukashenka's aide in 1994-95, told RFE/RL's Belarus Service. "And if he has been dumped -- now, before the [2008 legislative] elections -- it has been done with a single purpose: to prevent Kanaplyou from influencing the formation of a future parliament. Because the future parliament will have only one manager -- a successor [to Lukashenka]." Fyaduta suggested that Lukashenka is preparing his son, Viktar, for the post of speaker of the Chamber of Representatives in order to subsequently make him a successor to the presidency. JM