Traditional flow of the Parliamentary campaign
Authorities’ actions prove the election campaign will be held as usual. Authorities are interested in neither changing the traditional format of the parliamentary campaign, nor the Parliaments’ role in the political system.
On July 23rd, at a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives Vladimir Andreichenko, President Lukashenko said he would like to see one third of ‘old’ MPs in the new Parliament and advised on adequate employment for outgoing MPs.
One-third has been a ‘conventional’ ratio for the Belarusian Parliamentary elections for the past twelve years. Despite the fact that this quota is informal and is not formalized by a law, the usual practice is that a new Parliament has about 34% of the Deputies of previous convocation.
In February 2012 the Speaker talked about a record low quota of 20-25% during a similar meeting. This suggested that the authorities had some plans for political system reform, mentioned by the President in an interview with Chinese media in January 2012. However, the details of the reforms have never been made public.
At the same time, formation of candidates’ initiative groups’ statistics shows that MPs focus on the ‘February’ quota. As of July 23rd 24 acting Deputies have been nominated to run for the elections, that is, approximately 22%. All in all, there are 110 Deputies in the lower house of the Belarusian Parliament.
The increase of this informal succession quota to traditional levels could indicate that President’s environment would like to reduce any risks during this election campaign and to hold it without any changes. Foreign Minister Martynov’s visit to Rome for a meeting with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Chairman indirectly confirms this assessment, as well as the invitation of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission to Belarus.
According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.