Regional political coalitions: elections strategies
In the regions the election campaign has revived local political structures and activists to some extent. All in all, the 2012 election campaign atmosphere is characterized by low levels of population’s involvement. Electoral cycle did not result in increased civic activity, similar to the summer of 2011.
The ongoing electoral campaign so far has played a positive role for the regional structures of opposition parties and the pseudo-party movements. To some extent there has been a revival of local democratic activity, at least compared with 2011.
However, even in the regions, where the level of consolidation is traditionally higher than in Minsk, the campaign-2012 did not trigger consolidation around common agenda. At the grassroots level defragmentation and disengagement continues within the opposition.
Public agreements between opposition parties and the pseudo-party movement do not limit to statements criticizing one another. The absence of fundamental agreements resulted in “For fair elections” election monitoring campaign being the only national campaign.
Thus, preparations for the election observation replaced the mobilization of voters around political agenda. Moreover, except for the human rights organizations other representatives of the third sector practically do not take part in the campaign.
Generally, positions of the supporters of full or partial participation in the elections are stronger in the regions. Except for Brest and Vitebsk regions, so far there are no supporters of boycott in other regions. With regard to regional coalitions, there were no major changes, compared with the beginning of the year. Gomel region is leading with three regional groupings. In Vitebsk region there are two camps: ardent supporters of the boycott and supporters of full participation in the elections. In other regions, for instance in Grodno region, opposition organizations carry out their own strategies and there are no visible coalitions.
The main principle for formation of almost all regional coalitions is as follows: 1) for the elections’ boycott – ‘European Belarus’, BCD, and members of youth organization ‘Young Belarus’ and ‘Young Front’, 2) for the participation in the elections campaign – the BPF, UCP, ‘Fair World’ party, “For Freedom” movement, “Tell the truth!” campaign, Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Narodnaya Hramada).
Regional state-owned media has already started promoting governmental candidates. Formally, agitation is yet forbidden, but articles come out about experienced enterprises and organizations managers, which will later become candidates.