The ‘People’s Referendum’ coalition shows positive growth dynamics of public confidence
Initiators of ‘People’s Referendum’ demonstrate the best growth dynamics of popular support not only among opposition but also pro-governmental structures. This is confirmed by the December poll by IISEPS whereby citizens are ready to most strongly support candidates of the ‘Tell the Truth’ civic campaign (9.9%) and the ‘For Freedom’ (6.7%) movement in elections to local councils.
The discussion of issues put forward by the referendum contributes to the consolidation of supporters of changes around the coalition and strengthening of the position of campaign’s initiators. At the same time one shall not expect a significant growth of citizen activism during local elections in March this year. Still, a candidate supported by the ‘People’s referendum’ coalition has the best chance to improve the electoral rating before the beginning of the presidential campaign.
Following crackdown and arrests of participants in the spring protests, the authorities resumed arrests as punishment for participating in street protests in addition to fines, which for some time were the only punishment for political activity. On September 22nd, 2017, the riot police detained the Belarusian National Congress leader Nikolai Statkevich, the opposition politician was placed in detention centre on Akrestin street. On the same day, after serving seven days of arrest, another BNC leader, Vladimir Neklyaev, was released. He was sentenced for organising a street protest on September 8th against the West-2017 exercises. Other participants in the protest have been fined too. The authorities are likely to continue to use fines and arrests against political activists to punish for their protest activity.