A new development stage in the left forces’ coalition
On April 17th in Minsk, “Green” Party, “Fair World” Belarusian Left Party and the organizing committee of the Belarusian Labour Party leaders held a joint press conference.
So far, the political coalition between the leftist parties is limited to the creation of an informal ideological leftist platform. However, there is some progress in the building up of a coalition, which is evidenced by joint public appearances of the left-wing parties’ leaders.
The leftist platform was created on April 12th, at a joint meeting of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada), Belarusian Left Party “Fair World”, “Green” Party and the organizing committee of the Belarusian Labour Party. This platform is not a formal political bloc, rather a framework for joint actions by ideologically close forces.
The ‘Platform’ declared a joint action to be held on May 1st, as well as the creation of a leftist information web portal. Organizers said the platform would not have a formal leader. However, on April 17th, during the press conference they did not rule out the nomination of a single leftist candidate for the 2015 presidential elections.
Inside the Belarusian opposition, coalitions form due to both, the political momentum (upcoming local and presidential elections) and the lack of human and financial resources which the opposition parties and movements could contribute individually. The most explicit distinctive feature of the Platform is that it is ideologically orienting towards the promotion of social-democratic values and workers’ rights’ protection.
Political capacities of the new leftist platform (as well as the ‘trio’s’ BPF, For Freedom and Tell the Truth and other opposition groups and individual players) will be tested soon – during the local elections in 2014. The 2012 Parliamentary campaign has demonstrated that the opposition is more prone to scattered actions, rather than preserving coalitions before, during and after the elections.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.