“Tell the Truth!” to suspend negotiations about single candidate and to focus on working with electorate
On February 27th, “Tell the Truth!” civil campaign leaders announced that they were temporarily suspending participation in the negotiations about a single opposition candidate in the 2015 presidential elections.
“Tell the Truth!” suspended its participation in the negotiations about the single opposition candidate nomination in the upcoming presidential elections, which means in 2013 the single candidate will hardly be nominated. “Tell the Truth!”, “For Freedom” movements and the Belarusian People’s Front will focus on working with electorate and preparing for the local elections.
“Tell the Truth!” explained its withdrawal from the negotiations process by the lack of fruitful results in the short term. One part of the opposition, led by Anatoly Lebedko and the United Civil Party, insists on holding primaries, but other political forces do not support the idea. The BPF and “For Freedom” are not ready to decide about the procedure or to nominate Milinkevich. Other opposition parties are far from clear views in this regard.
Paradoxically, it is possible, that “Tell the Truth!” is trying to speed up the process of identifying a candidate from the coalition of the three – “Tell the Truth!”, “For Freedom” and the BPF. “Tell the Truth’s!” coalition partners nevertheless continue taking part in the single opposition candidate nomination process. BPF Chairman Mr. Yanukevich and Deputy Chairman of the “For Freedom” movement Mr. Gubarevich support negotiations to determine a single candidate.
At the same time, “TT”, “FF” and the BPF called for cooperation in the forthcoming elections to the local Councils, which may kick off as early as December 2013. In preparation to these elections “TT” plans to enhance its strategy “civil contract” and to nominate over 1000 candidates to the local Councils.
As for the joint actions of all opposition, in 2013 they will be limited to participation in quasi-political projects, such as the celebration of the memorable historical events: Kalinowski’s appraisal, 95th Anniversary of the BPR, and the Freedom Day.
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.