The Federation of Trade Unions and the "Belaya Rus" will be the main competitors in the parliamentary campaign
On 9 July, 110 district election commissions which will operate during the Parliamentary election campaign in September were set up.
The formation of district election commissions went according to plan with no sign that the upcoming election campaign will differ significantly from the 2008 campaign. A much greater influence on election outcome is exerted by local election commissions, which will be formed in early August.
According to the estimates of Belarusian human rights activists, minor progress has been observed at this stage of the campaign: in 2012 the proportion of the opposition in district election commissions rose to 3.3% versus 2.2% in 2008. This could be explained by the increased activity of opposition parties which have nominated 199 representatives against 118 in district commissions in 2008.
However, pro-governmental public organizations remain the most active and successful ones in nominating their representatives. Thus, the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus has nominated 279 members, 206 of which were included in the commissions (or 14.4% of the composition of all commissions.) The public association \"Belaya Rus\" has nominated 110 members (106 of them included, or 7.4%), the Belarusian Republican Youth Union has nominated 108 members (86 on, or 6%).
As a result, namely these three organizations are leaders in terms of representation of their members in district election commissions.
It can be concluded from this fact that the main struggle for influence in the campaign will take place between the Federation of Trade Unions and the \"White Russia\", which have repeatedly stated about their desire to play a more important role in the government policy of Belarus (specially on political plans of the \"Belaya Rus\", see the previous issue of monitoring).
In this case, the formation of local election commissions, to be completed by 8 August 8, will become the next step in this confrontation. Traditionally, the outcome of elections in Belarus is determined to not by district, but by local election commissions, which are directly involved in vote count and report the results to the district. Therefore, a more accurate prediction of the likely outcome of the campaign can be made after 8 August.
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.