The largest political movements agree on common elections tactic
Limited by the CEC participation of \"Tell the Truth!\" and \"For Freedom\" initiatives in the ongoing election campaign pushed them towards an agreement on a common tactic in the campaign. Tactical alliance between the two largest civic associations allows testing new methods of political participation and brings hope for continuation of consolidation processes after the elections.
On August 24th “Tell the Truth!” civil campaign and “For Freedom” movement issued a joint statement about the democratic forces’ common tactic in the ongoing election campaign.
In a joint statement, “For Freedom” and “Tell the Truth!” call voters and supporters in the democratic camp to join efforts to overcome political apathy, they offer mutual support to candidates, support to elections observers, and, as an experiment, propose an active boycott in one or two districts where there are no democratic candidates.
Until now the boycott campaign was visible on websites only. Apparently, registration by the CEC candidates from boycott supporters and their propaganda campaign, coupled with the “Tell the Truth!” and “For Freedom” experiment will make boycott more visible to the population. However, both, political tradition and sociological studies suggest that the election campaign failure in Belarus due to voters’ absence is impossible.
However, the tactical alliance between TT and FF gives hope that more serious processes will follow.
First of all, active participation in the election campaign will strengthen the positions and recognition of these two movements. “Civil contract”, a “Tell the Truth!” system of alternative representation of the citizens’ interests, in collaboration with the “For Freedom’s” “People’s Program” reinforce the democratic camp and represent a new strategic perspective after failed attempts to succeed through elections or revolution.
Moreover, the tactical alliance between TT and FF could help scrapping the trend for further opposition’s fragmentation and could be a sign of the centripetal processes’ start. Apparently, boycott supporters will also try to unite. Therefore by the end of the campaign democratic camp will resume its traditional bi-polar configuration.
The Belarusian authorities could to step up the opposition representation in local councils, should party members demonstrate potency. The Belarusian leadership is unlikely to have the resources to ensure 100 percent pro-government candidates in the local elections. The authorities have exhausted the grassroot support and have no funds to pay for the loyalty.
The Belarusian Central Election Commission has proposed to hold the elections to the local Councils of Deputies on February 18th, 2018.
The president has repeatedly emphasised the importance of the local councils in the power system and the state machine always tried to ensure the necessary local election results. Candidates have been decreasing in number with each elections and the authorities dealt with that by reducing the deputy corps. That said, during the rule of President Lukashenka, his electoral base has changed substantially. Over the past decade, most Belarusians have moved to cities and lost their local roots. The rural population is ready to support the president, but rural residents are constantly decreasing in number.
The Belarusian leadership is likely to permit broad participation in the election campaign and an increase in alternative representatives in the local councils. However, the opposition would have to boost its activity, so as so far it has been passive in defending its interests. In addition, the authorities, while determining the date for the local elections, have taken into account the fact that the opposition is usually the least active in the winter time.
Overall, both, the opposition and the local authorities have exhausted their grassroot support, however new local leaders may still come on political stage, although the party opposition has not yet shown sufficient aspirations.