Procedural issues become insurmountable handicap for “single candidate’s” nomination by opposition
The united opposition cannot come to an agreement over technical issues regarding holding the Congress of Democratic Forces, which is supposed to elect a ‘single opposition candidate’ in the 2015 presidential election. The seven major opposition parties, taking part in negotiations, have stumbled over the nomination procedure of the Congress members - some of them seek to strengthen their representation and weight in the Congress because of the nomination procedure. Currently, there are two major blocks in the negotiation process and each of them insists on their own member’s nomination format. The opposition leaders do not believe in the possibility of change in the next presidential elections, therefore they think primarily about preserving and strengthening influence of their own party after 2015. The longer these negotiations last, the more likely the split in the opposition and the nomination of several candidates from the opposition parties in the presidential election in 2015.
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.