Election 2011: How realistic is the regime change?

David Marples, professor at the University of Alberta, Canada and a President of the North American Association for Belarusian Studies is on the research trip to Minsk right now. In the article for the Jamestown Foundation * he reflects on possible outcomes of the Belarusian presidential election of 2011. The expert is analyzing the most recent opinion poll results in order to support his predictions.

Prospects For Regime Change in Belarus

By: David Marples

The Jamestown Foundation
Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 140
July 21, 2010

The approach of a new election always leads political analysts in Belarus to revisit a familiar question: is regime change possible or remote? Are Belarusians in general satisfied with the presidency of Alyaksandr Lukashenka? Will the current rift with Russia lead to the downfall of the leading politician in Belarus and, if so, who is likely to succeed him?

Before each election, Lukashenka adopts the posture of a man too busy to deal with the petty intricacies of a campaign. True to form, he stated in mid-July that his priorities at present are the forthcoming harvest campaign, decisions on the annual and five-year budgets, and the convocation of the so-called All-Belarusian People’s Congress, an unelected body that is assembled prior to each presidential election as a means to approve the general economic policies of the leader. Traditionally also, he lambasts the opposition, and he has referred to them this time as “leeches” who simply take “grants” from foreign sources to enrich themselves. He had anticipated the nomination of two or three candidates, he commented, “but not ten!” All of them, he added, have to live off these grants because they do not work. They are thus homeless and jobless. Their goal of agreeing upon a single candidate to replace Lukashenka is a “fantasy” (Belarusian Telegraph Agency, July 16).

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