Milinkevich says has best chance to head Belarus opposition

MINSK. Oct 7 (Interfax-West) - Alexander Milinkevich, who lost March's Belarussian presidential election to incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, said on Friday that he had the best chance of becoming the leader of a proposed opposition coalition, while other opposition figures poured cold water on the coalition proposal.

"Beside me, the first secretary of the Belarussian Party of Communists, Sergei Kalyakin, and the chairman of the United Civil Party, Anatoly Lebedko, can be seen as candidates for this role, but I have the highest chance," Milinkevich told Interfax.

Milinkevich said a proposed Congress of Democratic Forces "would make sense only if the leaders of political parties declare their complete subordination to the newly elected leader of the political coalition."

Lebedko, took issue with Milinkevich's point.

"It sounds good, driving everybody under the control of the same leader, but there is no candidate for this role in Belarus. We have no leader who has the prestige of [former Czech president] Vaclav Havel or support that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin enjoys," Lebedko said.

Former Belarussian parliamentary chairman Stanislav Shushkevich also expressed skepticism about the coalition idea.

"I have the impression that we have certain people who very much want to be leaders in spite of everything," he said.