“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 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.