Belarusian opposition torn by conflicts and fight for resources before parliamentary elections

May 27, 2016 13:32

The trustee of the presidential candidate Tatsiana Karatkevich in the 2015 presidential elections, Jaroslav Bernikovich has made a statement about falsifications of signature sheets by the Karatkevich team. Analysts have noted an increase in tensions in the opposition camp as they fight for scarce resources. However, most opposition parties are not interested in the in the public discussion on this issue, since such suspicions were voiced in their regard in the 2010 presidential elections. Yet another row in the opposition will help keeping their ratings low, regardless of their involvement. As well, tension in the opposition circles is unlikely to have substantial influence on election campaigns by the opposition candidates, as their popular ratings are low anyway, so as the electorate’s interest in the elections. 

Image: Dzmitry Brushko, TUT.BY

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.

In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.

The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.

There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.

That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.