Two election campaigns – the parliamentary and presidential – will be held in Belarus in 2020. President Lukashenko described it as a political ‘bacchanalia’ that will last for a year and a half and won’t bring stability to our society.
Presidential and parliamentary elections in Belarus almost coincide.
Proposals were made to postpone one of the campaigns to 2019. Some political observers believe this is one of the most likely scenarios. However, what elections will be held ahead of time is yet not clear.
Lack of funding
It is no longer a sensation when oppositionists lose the opportunity to maintain their office.
Although it was for the first time a politician refused a post of a party chairman two months after his victory at the convention, primarily because he could not find the funding.
Vasily Polyakov was the chairman of the United Civiс Party (UCP) for 77 days. In September he addressed the party’s political council with a statement on the resignation as the chairman.
The political council accepted the resignation and appointed Polyakov’s vice-president Nikolay Kozlov as the acting head of the party.
At risk of eviction from the office, the (BNF) Party which has accumulated a 30,000 BYN debt for rent and utilities had to announce a fundraising campaign.
Even the largest opposition parties experience difficulties with paying for utilities and work of a limited staff.
This raises the question of how realistic the plans to collect hundred of thousand signatures necessary for registering a presidential candidate and effective election campaign are.
Actually, the scarcity of funds is one of the main reasons forcing opposition parties to join forces and put forward a single candidate.
Plenty of candidates
Havary Praŭdu and the BNF Party have declared their intention to nominate their own presidential candidates.
In the first case, two figures have been announced so far, the co-chairs Tatiana Korotkevich and Andrey Dmitriev, but they are unlikely to be nominated together.
The BNF party is one of the few opposition groups that are under pressure from within to have its own candidate at the presidential election. In Belarus, the most common cause of entering the presidential race is personal ambitions of a politician.
Despite the party’s obvious problems with funds for campaigning it already has two potential candidates. They are the party’s deputy chairman Alexey Yanukevich and activist Yury Zenkovich who emigrated to the USA.
Parties gearing up for parliamentary elections
There is a reason to believe that parliamentary elections will be held in 2019. (They say the head of state won’t want to cut his term of office.)
Back in September, the UCP acting chairman Nikolai Kozlov expressed this opinion as a common position of the center-right coalition. According to the head of the UCP, center-right activists are actively preparing for parliamentary elections.
Candidates are selected, constituencies are coordinated between coalition subjects, and amendments to the Electoral Code have been developed. At the moment, the coalition plan to somehow make the current government take the amendments into account.
Power struggle is not expected
In spring 2019, the center-right parties intend to complete negotiations on the procedure for selecting a single presidential candidate from the coalition.
There are several options for the selection mechanism and the coalition state that not only members of its structures will be able to take part in a “casting”.
However, it does not intend to completely let things slide and is already preparing the election program for a single candidate.
Nonetheless, the opposition’s plans for the upcoming elections don’t look like a real bid for a power struggle. Regardless of programs and strategies, everyone will be satisfied with participation, not victory.