2012 Elections: the opposition is as split as ever
On March 6, “Fair World” party announced that it will participate in the Parliamentary elections in the autumn 2012.
Following the statement by the “Fair World” party the opposition forces could be divided into at least four groups with different approaches to the participation in the campaign:
1. Active boycott of the nomination of candidates and their removal from the race right before the voting (UCP).
2. Full participation in the election campaign (“Fair World” party).
3. Boycott of the elections and organization of monitoring of violations (not registered Belarusian Christian Democracy party, not registered movement “Belaruski rukh” and the organizing committee of the People’s Assembly).
4. Unclear position of holding consultations with the “civil society” about the format of participation in the campaign (the remaining part of the so-called “Coalition of the six”: Belarusian Popular Front Party, “Tell the Truth!” civil campaign, the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) and the “For Freedom” movement).
The fact that there are so many political actors with different interests 4 months prior to the start of the campaign, implies, most likely, that the opposition will fail to come up with a unified strategy.
Moreover, it is very likely that the split among the political opposition will continue and they will pursue own interests on a wider scale: be it organization of election monitoring or election of a new parliament.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.