Politicians continued to declare their presidential ambitions; civil society and the opposition abandoned plans to form a broad coalition for Freedom Day
Chairwoman of the Belarusian Language Society and MP Elena Anisim has announced her likely presidential ambition. She has a good chance to become a single candidate from a broad coalition, including center-rightists, the Belarusian Popular Front and, possibly, the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada), and would enjoy the support from nationalistic civic initiatives. Political parties and civil society organisations formed several organizing committees for Freedom Day celebrations. Tell The Truth has launched a long-term strategy aimed at preparing for the local elections of 2022.
MP Elena Anisim is the chairwoman of the Belarusian Language Society (TBM), which is among the largest registered civil society organisations counting some 6,000 members. TBM members include representatives of the Belarusian diaspora, political parties and movements. Many of these organizations are planning to nominate their presidential candidates, such as the center-rightists, Tell The Truth, the Belarusian National Committee and the Belarusian Popular Front. In addition, some TBM members support the incumbent president, as, for example, MP Igor Marzalyuk. Having announced her possible nomination, Anisim is likely to seek the support of centre-rightists and the BPF. Should she become a presidential candidate, MP Anisim is likely to focus on threats to Belarus’ independence and promote the Belarusian language, in particular, the opening of a Belarusian-language university. The Belarusian diaspora could significantly facilitate the fundraising efforts for the Anisim’s campaign.
The center-rightists (the United Civic Party, the Belarusian Christian Democracy and For Freedom Movement) and BSDP (Hramada) have joined efforts aimed at mobilizing opposition supporters for holding a traditional rally on March 25th near the Opera Theater and putting forward political demands. Previously, the Art Siadziba cultural venue and the Belarusian Popular Front applied for an authorization to hold non-political celebrations at the Dynamo Stadium. The Belarusian National Committee is likely to organize an unauthorized rally in the centre of Minsk with a protest agenda.
Tell The Truth started a nationwide petition, so far, in preparation for the local elections. They anticipate that authorities would be ready to step up the role of local governance and local citizens' initiatives. Local governments could become an additional instrument facilitating Tell The Truth activists’ communication with voters.
Abandoned plans for a broad coalition to organize Freedom Day celebrations have reduced conflict potential among organizers, however, left greater room for manoeuvre for the authorities.