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April 11 – April 17, 2011

Opposition: steps towards consolidation

The situation has not changed
Opposition: steps towards consolidation

On 11 April the National Coordinating Council of the Democratic Forces of Belarus adopted a statement regarding the “conditions for the participation of the Belarusian democratic forces in the election campaigns”.

In the statement, the Council members demanded to release all political prisoners, to cease political repressions in the country, to respect constitutional rights and freedoms, to reform the electoral system and particularly underlined the reservation of their right to boycott the upcoming election campaign if the demands they put forward were not fulfilled.

Comment.

The statement should be regarded as an important step towards the likely consolidation of the alternative political forces in Belarus after the 2010 Presidential election campaign. The collective boycott strategy could become a strong argument while making the authorities listen to the demands of the opposition, given it could be implemented. In the past decade this strategy has been regularly discussed however was never implemented to the extent, when the governmental candidate could find him/herself in a situation of no alternative.

The potential boycott of elections by the opposition is doubtful. In fact, the history and inner logic of the opposition movement in Belarus shows that the strategy of boycotting the elections is the most difficult to carry out. The last three presidential campaigns since 2001 demonstrate that the opposition has been consistently breaking up its participation in the elections: from the single candidate in 2001 to two candidates in 2006 and seven candidates in 2010.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.
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