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.
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.