MP Anna Kanopatskaya is attempting to expand communication channels between society and authorities

May 15, 2017 12:21

MP Anna Kanopatskaya has proposed that people send their questions to the government through her. Previously, the authorities thwarted the opposition's attempt to introduce amendments to the Electoral Code through their representative in the parliament and failed to share the results of work of the interdepartmental working group led by the Central Election Commission on this issue. In addition to political claims, the opposition is attempting to use its MP to put pressure on the authorities regarding controversial issues of concern for some population groups, such as urban development and construction in the capital city. So far, there were no tangible results from such pressure, however, it has allowed to create an additional communication channel between society and the authorities and prompt officials to become more open to demands of the population discontent with the state policy.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
September 18, 2017 10:43
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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.