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Belarusian opposition will reduce participation in local elections

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June 12, 2017 12:56
Фото: Берестовицкая газета

Opposition parties plan to take part in the local election campaign in Belarus. However, parties are unlikely to nominate more than 50-100 activists from each organisational structure. Apparently, the opposition failed to mobilize a sufficient number of activists after the "hot spring".

Most likely, the opposition participation in the local elections would be limited to the most representative candidates. According to the The Right of Choice campaign, which unites eight opposition structures (the United Civic Party, the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada), the organizing committee for the creation of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party, the For Freedom movement, the Belarusian Popular Front Party, the Belarusian Green Party and the organizing committee of the Party of Freedom and Progress), the number of candidates and observers from these structures will substantially reduce as compared with the local campaign of 2014.

It should be noted that there were thousands of participants in the recent protest actions in the regions. As the opposition attempted to promote political demands, the authorities have clamped down popular discontent. Currently, only few people are ready for active political engagement. That said, the authorities’ major task is not to allow social and economic demands of the population to marry the oppositional political agenda.

Meanwhile, the authorities’ agenda is also shifting focus towards social issues, but the Belarusian leadership is beginning to lose touch with the population, which is well used by the opposition leaders.

Social discontent and the authorities’ inability fully diffuse it, has increased the opposition chances for gaining in popularity during the local elections. In addition, the low number of local government nominees for the local elections and the authorities' likely interest in demonstrating "democratization" give some hope for the opposition to win seats in the local councils. However, so far, the opposition neither has the opportunity, nor the desire to expand its participation in the upcoming election campaign.

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