Belarusian opposition is set to participate in parliamentary elections
Most political parties have started compiling lists of candidates for the Belarusian parliamentary elections, which are likely to take place in early autumn of 2016. Previously, most democratic forces representatives required amendments to the electoral law as a condition of their participation in the elections. Despite the fact that the electoral law is unlikely to change, Belarusian political parties seem to have changed their position in a constructive manner – most likely due to the failure of the boycott / neglect strategy, which was extremely popular in the democratic camp during the presidential campaign, and the relative success of the only opposition candidate, Tatsiana Karatkevich. According to preliminary estimates, democratic organisations collectively may nominate about 240 candidates. They do not plan to divide constituencies among them. In addition, the loyal to the authorities Liberal Democratic Party may nominate about 110 candidates (one for each constituency). All in all, if the authorities are not too harsh with cutting off bidders, in some districts, especially in big cities, up to seven candidates may compete for a deputy seat.
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.