Belarus threats to ban parties that took part in protests

Belarus threatened Tuesday to shut down political parties that took part in protests against the disputed re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, news reports said.

"If the parties and public association took the decision ... to take part in the mass disturbances, then we will raise the issue of their liquidation," Russian news agencies quoted Justice Minister Viktor Golovanov as saying.

Two of the nine challengers to Lukashenko in Sunday's election represented political parties -- Rygor Kastusev of the Belarussian People's Front, and Yaroslav Romanchuk of the United Civil Party.

The former Soviet republic has 15 registered political parties, although they remain largely sidelined from power.

None of the nine challengers to Lukashenko received more than three percent of the vote in Sunday's controversial election, which prompted tens of thousands of protesters to rally in central Minsk once the results became official.

Lukashenko was re-elected to a fourth term with nearly 80 percent of the vote.


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