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|National affiliation||Belarusian Independence Bloc|
|European affiliation||European People's Party (observer)|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union (associate member)|
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|Politics of Belarus
The BPF Party (PBNF) (Belarusian: Партыя БНФ, ПБНФ, Partyja BNF) is a political party in Belarus. It was founded as the social movement Belarusian Popular Front "Revival" or BPF (Belarusian: Беларускі Народны Фронт "Адраджэньне", БНФ, Biełaruski Narodny Front "Adradžeńnie", BNF) 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 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 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 Uładzimir Zabłocki. 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 European Union.
1999 split and modern history
In the late 1990s the party's conservative wing under Zianon Pazniak split from the main BPF to found an independent political party – the Conservative Christian Party BPF (Kanservatyŭna-Chryścijanskaja Partyja BNF). The Party claims to be the only true BPF successor and does not recognize the "other" BPF. It also distances itself from the rest of the Belarusian opposition and labels them "regime accomplices".
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.
During the 2010 presidential election the BPF Party nominated its own candidate for the presidency, Ryhor Kastusioŭ, who is the current Deputy Chairman of the BPF Party. According to the official results, he gained 1.97% of the votes, which is quite doubtful, as international observers claimed the elections and the process of vote count to have fallen short of democratic standards.
After the brutal dispersal of a protest, which took place on December 19, 2010, when more than 600 people were arrested and sentenced to administrative arrest, the BPF Central Office became the center of solidarity with the arrested people.
The party became an associate member of the International Democrat Union in 2007.
- 2009–Current: Alaksiej Janukievich, elected at the XII Congress on September 5, 2009, reelected at the XIV Congress on September 10, 2011
- 2007–2009: Lyavon Barshchewski
- 1999–2007: Vincuk Viačorka
- 1989–1999: Zianon Pazniak
- Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic - the Belarusian government in exile
- Korosteleva, Elena (2005), "The Emergence of a Party System", Postcommunist Belarus (Rowman & Littlefield), pp. 42–43
- 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, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, pp. 23–24
- http://pravo.by/webnpa/text_txt.asp?RN=P30500247 О дополнительных мерах по упорядочению использования слов «национальный» и «белорусский»
- "Belarusian Popular Front elects new chairman"