Constitutional amendments provide guarantees for Lukashenka as the population and businesses are lined up to address budget shortfalls

Category status:
- (The situation has deteriorated)
27-03.10.2021
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The ruling class is planning a referendum on constitutional amendments which would grant constitutional status to the All-Belarusian People's Assembly, allow for future amendments to take effect without plebiscites, reform control of the security forces, provide a process for presidential impeachment, and create a permanent presidium headed by Lukashenka. The security forces continue to be at the forefront of revenue generation via seizures from the business following criminal prosecution. Beyond this, the government plans to raise revenue via tax increases.

The vision of the Constitutional amendments begins to take form, but the logistics of implementation after the referendum have not yet been fully defined. Lukashenka remains wary of politicizing society during the referendum and potentially causing rifts in the ruling class due to institutional transformations.

The principal change is to confer constitutional status upon the National Assembly under the chairmanship of Alexander Lukashenka. Redistribution of constitutional powers between the various branches of government remains vague, but after the referendum, it will be possible, if necessary, to make adjustments via the National Assembly without further recourse to the electorate.

Security forces continue to suppress dissidents and purge public criticism in an attempt to reduce public pressure and retain what remains of public confidence. More than 80 people were detained in connection with a shootout on Jakuboŭskaha Street sparked by social media comments about the death of Andrei Zeltser and a KGB officer.

The authorities refuse to buy the loyalty of the population, and the incomes of state employees are noticeably declining. The regime is probably stockpiling resources before the referendum in anticipation of a backlash and increasing sanctions.

The State Control Committee detained another major entrepreneur who allegedly owes more than 10 million in unpaid taxes.

The government plans to increase taxes cautiously, commencing with specific sectors such as tutors, wedding hosts, hairdressers, and builders. A tax is to be introduced on first apartment purchases, essentially creating an entry fee to the property ladder.

Low confidence in state institutions in general and the Ministry of Health, in particular, harm coronavirus vaccination. 59% of Belarusians have reservations.

Overall, the security forces continue to repress protests and encourage self-censorship among supporters of changes before the referendum (planned for February 2022).

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Previously in: The ruling elite

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