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BULLETINS “IISEPS NEWS” N 1 (39) MARCH

IISEPS News, N 1 (39), 2006

Content:

Preface

STRENGTHENING PRO-“WIDE EUROPE” ATTITUDES IN BELARUS:

January-2006
What do voters want?
In search of campaign’s hit
Differences between age groups
Language of political communication

February-2006
For whom to vote at the presidential election?
Will the Belarusians know truth about the presidential election?
Consolidation of electorates
“Spiral of silence” as a mechanism of colored revolution
Will Belarusians uphold their choice?
Extreme method of solving everyday problems
Whose socio-economic program is more attractive?
Those who are not satisfied with the quality of life support the democrats
Justice, what is this?
How do they live in Belarus?
Three “for,” two “against”?
Geopolitical compass of election
Voters claim: candidates have unequal access to state-run mass media

Some results of the nation opinion poll

OPEN FORUM:

Pavol Demes, first Slovak President’s Foreign Policy Advisor and Minister
Brave European Belarus

BOOKSHELF:

Prof. Yury Khodyko, Ph.D., Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front
“Political Parties: Belarus vs. Contemporary World”

Correspondence with the General Prosecutor’s Office

Preface:

Dear readers!

 

The next issue of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” offers to your attention materials reflecting the most interesting results of Institute’s studies in the first quarter of 2006.
Undoubtedly, the presidential election – all that preceded it and all that succeeded after it – has become the most im-portant event of this period as well as of the near past and of the near future (or, may be, of the remote future as well).
Many citizens in this country and abroad don’t trust the official election results, yet no one knows any other results, they say, which they could trust. There are many collisions in this regards – from statements of some opposition leaders about “stolen victory” made on March 19 in Minsk on the October square to still arising discussions among the concerned policy-makers from the Kremlin to the White House about the new strategy of relations with Belarus to be built after the election. In our opinion, this points out to inattentiveness or to forgetfulness of those who ask such questions. We should like to remind that over the many years during which IISEPS monitored socio-political process in Belarus (the most im-portant of which are certainly elections and referenda), results of opinion polls conducted right before elections and refer-enda were almost always the same (within the marginal error, i.e. 3%) as the results of the opinion polls conducted right after elections and referenda. This means that the expected results of the presidential election which we received in the na-tion opinion poll shortly before (in February) the election, will most likely be the same (± 3%) as the results of the opinion poll which will be conducted right after the election.
In view of this, a major part of materials in this bulletin is based on the results of the nation opinion poll conducted in February and some of them pertaining to the key issues of the election campaign – on the results of the previous polling (conducted in December).
For example, the February opinion poll showed that, provided citizens come to voting (around 85% of all voters), A. Lukashenko should receive not less than 60% of votes, A. Milinkevich – about 20% of votes, A. Kozulin – 7-8%, S. Gaidukevich – 5-6% and against all (including mutilated ballots) – 5-6%. The comparative analysis revealed that A. Lu-kashenko’s supporters sharply differ from supporters of alternative candidates. Over a half of the first are respondents aged 50 and over, the majority of them the pensioners who are the least active part of the society and who depend on the governmental support. On the contrary, the majority of the second are citizens under 50, i.e. the most active and independ-ent part of the society advancing the economy and the culture. In other words, very different voters stand behind each of the candidates and this is different future for this country behind each of them. Some want to go back into the past. Others want to stop in the present day. Yet another are concerned about the country they and their children will live in the near future.
Furthermore, the analysis has showed that the primary consolidation of electorates took place a month before the elec-tion. Also, the group of vacillating, or those who haven’t taken sides yet, has dissolved to a great extent. This means that the balance of electoral forces could be changed only from the group of “alien” voters whom candidates should not per-suade but over-persuade to change their mind. This certainly restricted opportunities of candidates and their teams. This is why expectations of some politicians and analysts that the balance of electoral forces could change considerably in favor of alternative candidates during the time left before the election, for example, through TV performances of these alternative candidates, were exaggerated we think.
Analysis of the polling data drew us to some other conclusions which helped all the concerned sides get better prepared to the election and the events which followed. This refers to the conclusion about latent growth of readiness to radical and even extreme forms of protest within the society, to the conclusion about weak identification of differences between pro-grams of presidential candidates shown by respondents, to the conclusion about the values like fairness of election (and in a wider sense – of the current political course in the country) and the quality of life which are very tender for the electorate as well as to the conclusion about mutually supplementary rather than mutually exclusive pro-Russian and pro-European moods which we already commented on and to many other conclusions.
As usual, we present sociological data, i.e. the so-called count-up tables, in the light of basic socio-demographic char-acteristics as well as the trends of change in Belarusian public opinion to those of our readers who prefer pure figures to analytics.
This time our “Open Forum” is given to an unusual guest. Pavol Demes, a famous Slovak intellectual and a policy maker, former First Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic and an old friend of Belarus, presents European view on the circumstances and prospects of the presidential election in Belarus. We believe that his in-depth analysis and expressive manner will touch every reader irrespective of his/her political standpoints.
Unfortunately, our correspondence with the General Prosecutor’s Office is going on and it looks like we need to intro-duce a special heading for this.
On the “Bookshelf”, Prof. Y. Khodyko, a well-known politician and a member of the IISEPS Advisory Board, will in-troduce you to a new book of Belarusian experts – the one about peculiarities of party organization in Belarus.
All comments and feedbacks are as usual welcome!

IISEPS Board