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|Founded||1988 (establishment of the Belarusian Popular Front)|
1999 (split between BPF Party and the Conservative Christian Party BPF)
|Youth wing||BPF Youth|
|Political position||Centre-right to right-wing|
|National affiliation||Belarusian Independence Bloc|
|European affiliation||Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|Slogan||"Long Live Belarus"|
|House of Representatives:|
0 / 110
|Council of the Republic:|
0 / 64
The BPF Party (Belarusian: Партыя БНФ, romanized: Partyja BNF or ПБНФ PBNF) is a political party in Belarus. It was de facto established after the split of the social movement Belarusian Popular Front or BPF (Belarusian: Беларускі Народны Фронт "Адраджэньне", romanized: Biełaruski Narodny Front "Adradžeńnie" or БНФ (BNF) in 1999. The Belarusian Popular Front was founded during the Perestroika era by members of the Belarusian intelligentsia, including Vasil Bykaŭ. Its first and most charismatic leader was Zianon Pazniak.
After a 2005 decree by president Alexander Lukashenko on the restriction of the usage of the words Беларускі ("Belarusian") and "Народны" ("National", "Popular", "People's") in the names of political parties and movements, the party had to change its official name to "BPF Party".
The Belarusian Popular Front was established in 1988 as both a political party and a cultural movement, following the examples of the Popular Front of Estonia, Popular Front of Latvia and the Lithuanian pro-democracy movement Sąjūdis. Membership was declared open to all Belarusian citizens as well as any democratic organization.
Its alleged goals are democracy and independence through national rebirth and rebuilding after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The main idea of the Front was the revival of the national idea, including a revival of the Belarusian language. Initially, its orientation was pro-Western with a great deal of scepticism towards Russia. At one point they propagated the idea of a union from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea that would involve Ukraine, Poland, Belarus and Lithuania, similar to Józef Piłsudski's "Międzymorze".
The party was in favor of removing Russian as an official language in Belarus. Russian became an official language following a controversial national referendum in 1995, at the beginning of the Lukashenko era, when a proposal for making Russian a state language received 83.3% support from the turnout.
Initially, the Front had significant visibility because of its numerous public actions that almost always ended in clashes with police and KGB. It was BPF parliamentarians who convinced the Supreme Soviet (the interim Belarusian parliament) to restore the historical Belarusian symbols: the white-red-white flag and the Pahonia coat of arms. During Soviet-times people faced arrest in the streets for displaying white-red-white symbols in Belarus.
In 1994 the BPF formed a so-called "shadow" cabinet consisting of 100 BPF intellectuals. Its first Prime Minister was Vladimir Zablotsky. It originally contained 18 commissions that published ideas and proposed laws and plans for restructuring the government and economy. Its last economic reform proposal was published in 1999. In opposition to Alexander Lukashenko's government, the party supports Belarus' entry into NATO and the European Union.
In the late 1990s the Popular Front split in two parties, both of which claim to be the legitimate continuation of the original BPF. The party's conservative wing under Zianon Pazniak became the Conservative Christian Party BPF (Kanservatyŭna-Chryścijanskaja Partyja BNF) while the moderate majority became today's BPF Party.
Modern history, participation in elections
At the 2004 legislative election the party was part of the People's Coalition 5 Plus (Narodnaja Kaalicyja Piaciorka Plus), that did not secure any seats. These elections fell (according to the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission ) significantly short of OSCE commitments. Universal principles and constitutionally guaranteed rights of expression, association and assembly were seriously violated, calling into question the Belarusian authorities’ willingness to respect the concept of political competition on a basis of equal treatment. According to this mission, the principles of an inclusive democratic process, whereby citizens have the right to seek political office without discrimination, candidates to present their views without obstruction, and voters to learn about them and discuss them freely, were largely ignored.
In October 2005 Alaksandar Milinkievič, a candidate proposed by the BPF and Zialonyja (Belarusian Green Party) was elected the common democratic candidate for the 2006 Presidential election.
During the 2010 presidential election the BPF Party nominated its own candidate for the presidency, Ryhor Kastusiou, who was then the Deputy Chairman of the BPF Party. According to the official results, he gained 1.97% of the votes.
In 2011, following an internal conflict, more than 90 further members left BPF Party, including several prominent veterans of the original Belarusian Popular Front, such as Lyavon Barshchewski, Jury Chadyka, Vincuk Viačorka. This was sometimes described as a "second split" of the Belarusian Popular Front.
On the Congress in September 2017, the new party leader Ryhor Kastusiou has been elected. The Congress decided also to nominate Alaksej Janukevich and Belarusian-American attorney Youras Ziankovich to the presidential office in next elections. The final decision about the only candidate has to be made in the future.
The party became an associate member of the International Democrat Union in 2007.
It was an observer member of the European People's Party until 2017. Since 7 April 2017 the party is a member of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe. Its youth wing, BPF Youth, is a member of the European Young Conservatives.
- 2017–Current: Ryhor Kastusiou
- 2009–2017: Alaksiej Janukievich
- 2007–2009: Lyavon Barshchewski
- 1999–2007: Vincuk Viačorka
- Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic - the Belarusian government in exile
- Conservative Christian Party – BPF
- Korosteleva, Elena (2005). "The Emergence of a Party System". Postcommunist Belarus. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 38. ISBN 0-7425-3555-X.
- Tarnauski, Andrei (2005), "The Peculiarities of Party Politics in Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine: Institutionalization or Marginalization?" (PDF), Political Parties in Post-Soviet Space, Praeger, p. 45, ISBN 9780275973445
- Bugajski, Janusz (2002). Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in a Post-Communist Era. Center for Strategic and International Studies. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-1-56324-676-0.
- Nordsieck, Wolfram (2008). "Belarus". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011.
- Bollier, Sam (24 September 2012). "Belarus ballot box boycott divides opposition". Al Jazeera.
- Welcome to our new member parties
- http://pravo.by/webnpa/text_txt.asp?RN=P30500247 О дополнительных мерах по упорядочению использования слов «национальный» и «белорусский»
- "Янукевіч: Пазбегнуць расколу Партыі БНФ было немагчыма". Euroradio.fm. 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "У партыі БНФ раскол". Narodnaja Volia. 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2017.[permanent dead link]
- "Belarusian Popular Front elects new chairman" Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Official website (in Belarusian and English)