Several opposition candidates to participate in presidential elections in Belarus
The initiators of the "People’s referendum" campaign aim to nominate their joint presidential candidate for the presidential elections in mid-April. Opposition leaders have finally abandoned attempts to finalise negotiations on the ‘single opposition candidate’ nomination. All the way through 2014, seven leading political parties and movements held consultations about the single candidate nomination. Before the election campaign kicks off, the opposition parties are likely to form electoral blocks and nominate candidates from each block. During the election campaign, the political parties will focus on strengthening their organizational structures in the framework of long-term strategies, rather than changing the current leadership via mass protests on the Election Day.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.