Belarusian Christian Democracy holds founding conference

A founding conference for the Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) party was held in Minsk on February 28, with the gathering electing four co-chairmen and adopting the party’s charter and political platform.

Ryhor Dzmitruk, Vital Rymashewski, Pavel Sevyarynets and Alyaksey Shein were elected in an open ballot to co-chair the party.

The party’s governing body, National Council, will consist of 10 “landmark VIPs” and 10 persons representing provinces, Mr. Sevyarynets said.

The 10 “VIPs” include, among the four co-chairmen, Malady Front leader Zmitser Dashkevich, prominent young opposition activists Andrey Kim and Artur Finkevich, Protestant priest Ernest Sabila, singer Andrey Melnikaw and BCD activist Dzyanis Sadowski.

The party’s emblem features the star of Bethlehem.

“We lighten this star today and we know in spite of the cold weather, snow, ice and fears and lies around that tomorrow will be March 1. Tomorrow is the start of spring,” Mr. Sevyarynets said.

“It is possible to reshape even a country like Belarus, a country in such a difficult condition, a country with no spirituality, with alcohol abuse and suicides,” he said. “We believe in this. Belarusian Christian Democracy is not just a political niche, not just another political party. Belarusian Christian Democracy is being established as a party that will be capable of becoming a leading force in Belarus. Belarusian Christian Democracy is a party of victory.”

“A great attention to people’s problems, their worries, the uniqueness and needs of every person will make up Belarusian Christian Democracy’s political program,” Mr. Sevyarynets noted. “We love Belarus as it is, but we love it so much that we cannot allow it to remain as it is.”

Vital Rymashewski, another newly elected co-chairman of the group, said that its charter provided for the equal treatment of all members irrespective of their faith. “Over the four-year operation of the organizing committee for Belarusian Christian Democracy, not a single religious conflict has occurred,” he said. “In this respect, Belarusian Christian Democracy can serve as an example for other organizations.

“People often ask as to why few people are joining pro-democratic groups. A major reason is that people who are joining us expect from us something new, some alternative and, above all, alternative behavior,” he said.

Mr. Rymashewski expressed hope that BCD would offer pro-democratic supporters new “patterns of behavior such as nobleness, propriety and consciousness.”

“Christians has always made up the core of Belarusian Christian Democracy,” he said.

The group has a month after the founding conference to file an application for registration to the justice ministry, which is required by law to issue a reply within a month.