Meeting of the Political Council of the UCP
On 29 April Minsk hosted a meeting of the Political Council of the United Civil Party, which announced the launch of a nationwide campaign “Building new, preserving the best”: The meeting was chaired by the Chairman of the UCP Mr. Lebedko.
This event is a milestone for the UCP, a prominent opposition party in Belarus. Following the presidential campaign of 2010, at the end of which the party leader Lebedko was arrested and the behaviour of a presidential candidate and the Deputy Chairman of the UCP Mr. Romanchuk raised doubts about his future political career, the party had to hold a full session and decide on the future priorities.
The scope of future activities will be determined by the campaign “Building new, preserving the best”, setting up plans to elaborate political and economic development programmes for Belarus, and plans to engage in a dialogue with the authorities. The importance of the statements made during the meeting is that the UCP has no plans to coordinate its work with other political partners. It is rather predictable, given the previously existing logic of split up opposition, that in its new campaign the UCP openly set no priority for cooperation e.g. with the National Committee of Democratic Forces, or with the National Civil Society Forum.
It confirms the long-term trend of the opposition forces in Belarus, who find it more and more difficult to agree among them to represent a united front. The sequential increase in the number of candidates during the presidential elections since 2001 also confirms this trend
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.