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.
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.