The Parliament of Belarus on Tuesday approved December 19th for the country's presidential elections. Hardly anyone would argue that the decision was made by Alexander Lukashenko personally.
Earlier, Mr. Lukashenko was expected to drag the decision and set the latest date in the line with the Constitution. The Central Election Commission of Belarus announced February 6th, 2011 as the most likely day to hold election.
But Mr. Lukashenko decides to kill two birds with one stone: first of all, he uses preemptive tactics against the opposition.
"Some experts expected Lukashenko to announce election date at the very last moment but he chose another way to go amid continuing differences between members of the opposition. Relying on the support from the middle-aged and elderly citizens, Lukashenko seems to be comfortable with the election campaign which is about to start," said expert on the post-Soviet policies Alexei Vlasov.
But the date which was officially announced on Tuesday proves that Mr. Lukashenko is yet not that confident. The best way to distract attention from Belarus is to hold elections when Europe traditionally prepares for Christmas celebrations.
"Europe will be busy celebrating Christmas, so it is very unlikely that somebody will care about the opposition in Belarus," said Sergei Markov.
Looking forward to victory, Alexander Lukashenko cannot but take into consideration what observers in Europe and Russia will think about presidential elections in his country. There is no other way to become a legitimate president of Belarus.