2012 Elections: the opposition is as split as ever
On March 6, “Fair World” party announced that it will participate in the Parliamentary elections in the autumn 2012.
Following the statement by the “Fair World” party the opposition forces could be divided into at least four groups with different approaches to the participation in the campaign:
1. Active boycott of the nomination of candidates and their removal from the race right before the voting (UCP).
2. Full participation in the election campaign (“Fair World” party).
3. Boycott of the elections and organization of monitoring of violations (not registered Belarusian Christian Democracy party, not registered movement “Belaruski rukh” and the organizing committee of the People’s Assembly).
4. Unclear position of holding consultations with the “civil society” about the format of participation in the campaign (the remaining part of the so-called “Coalition of the six”: Belarusian Popular Front Party, “Tell the Truth!” civil campaign, the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) and the “For Freedom” movement).
The fact that there are so many political actors with different interests 4 months prior to the start of the campaign, implies, most likely, that the opposition will fail to come up with a unified strategy.
Moreover, it is very likely that the split among the political opposition will continue and they will pursue own interests on a wider scale: be it organization of election monitoring or election of a new parliament.
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.