Due to limited resources Belarusian opposition is unlikely to nominate many candidates in upcoming elections
‘The Right to Elect 2015’ Election Observation Campaign to the State Control Committee requesting to bring to administrative liability Central Election Commission officials for ignoring collective proposals for changes in the electoral legislation. Unlike negotiations about the single candidate nomination, the opposition cooperation on election observation has been rather effective. Eight oppositional organisations have agreed to organise election observation: initiators of the ‘People’s Referendum’, Belarusian Christian Democracy, ‘Green’ party, independent trade union REP and the organizing committee for creating the Freedom and Progress party. While some opposition leaders have already announced their intention to become candidates in the upcoming presidential elections, many have not yet made a final decision and are seeking additional funds and activists for the campaign. Some opposition parties do not plan to support any one of the potential candidates, and many opposition activists will focus on election observation. In any case, the CEC will screen all candidates and may not register the most inconvenient for the government.
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.