Belarusian centre-right opposition coalition will participate in parliamentary elections
in order to participate in the parliamentary campaign, given that For Freedom Movement decides on political participation. Other opposition parties, such as Tell the Truth, the Belarusian Popular Front and the Fair World, are likely to participate in the parliamentary elections independently. – the United Civic Party, For Freedom Movement and Belarusian Christian Democracy –
On November 10th, 2015 at the Assembly of the European People’s Party in Brussels, UCP leader Anatol Lyabedzka, For Freedom Movement leader Yury Hubarevich and Organizing Committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy head Vital Rymashevskiy announced their readiness to form the centre-right coalition. On November 13th, they held a press conference in order to explain their common goal, i.e. to participate in the next election campaign together so as they shared common values. In addition, the coalition addressed European politicians with a request to link changes in the electoral law directly with the lifting of sanctions against the Lukashenka regime.
While talking to journalists, Hubarevich and Rymashevsky said that European politicians had prompted them to unite. The declaration of the centre-right coalition implied the non-inclusion of other participants. Some analysts believe that the coalition has been created against the Tell the Truth and ex-presidential candidate Tatsiana Karatkevich. However, the coalition principles also exclude Mikola Statkevich (as leftist social democrat) and Fair World Leftist Party with its leader, Sergei Kaliakin. In addition, the coalition frameworks have appeared too narrow to the right-wing Belarusian Popular Front, which originally signed the centre-right coalition declaration.
Despite the fact that all external attempts to unite the opposition have failed in the past and only lead to distrust and conflicts between the opposition parties, the union between the FFM, BCD and UCP into a centre-right coalition is only reasonable. These political forces’ own resources are quite modest and they would be unlikely to participate in the parliamentary campaign individually and would have to continue to advocate for a boycott.
Overall, the opposition is likely to participate in the parliamentary campaign in its ‘natural’ state, i.e. with leftist, right and centrist agendas, which indicates a significant decrease in the influence by foreign partners on the opposition forces’ decisions.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.