Belarusian opposition will fail to agree on single list of candidates for parliamentary elections
The centre-right coalition, which includes ‘For Freedom’ movement, the United Civil Party and the organizing committee of the ‘Belarusian Christian Democracy’ party, is planning to hold a congress of democratic forces, which would become a joint start in the upcoming parliamentary election campaign. The event will be instead of, or in opposition to the street action, called the Belarusian National Congress, which was organised in May 2016 by Nikolai Statkevich. The centre-right coalition has declared its intention to nominate their candidates in 95 constituencies of 110. This means, that Statkevich’s initiative to create a shared list of democratic candidates will not materialise. Former presidential candidate Tatyana Karatkevich, leader of ‘Tell the Truth’ campaign Andrey Dmitriev, Ales Lahvinets from ‘For Freedom’ movement and Aliaksei Yanukevich from the Belarusian Popular Front have already announced their participation in the upcoming parliamentary campaign.
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.