November 4 – November 10, 2019
The ruling elite

Authorities resume the constitutional reform debate; law enforcers step up pressure on the protest movement

The situation has not changed
Authorities resume the constitutional reform debate; law enforcers step up pressure on the protest movement

So far, the Belarusian authorities have not finalized their vision and plans for constitutional reform. However, they attempt to relax tension in society and prevent likely protests by resuming the discussion about the possible changes in the Constitution. Law enforcers have resumed preventive detention practices to reduce protest movement mobilization potential in the regions.

The Belarusian leadership has reopened a debate about political reform and amendments to the constitution to change the balance of power in the country. According to MP Marzalyuk, the new parliament would be tasked to draft a new Constitution envisaging a new political system. Apparently, the authorities are attempting to relax tension in society and respond to the growing demand for socio-economic and political reforms among the population.

The authorities resort to assistance by managers from the banking sector attempting to improve performance by public enterprises and retain the state share in the economy. However, bankers, unlike industrialists, often have pro-market views and advocate for abandoning public subsidies to unprofitable public enterprises. For instance, Belarusbank may redeem part of Belshina and form new corporate governance to include its representatives.

The National Bank further retained stability on the financial and the currency market. The refinancing rate reduced to 9% per annum and inflation declined to 5.3% in September 2019.

Before a major picket in Minsk on November 8th, law enforcers resumed preventive detentions of regional activists and opinion leaders. In Orsha, they detained blogger Dzmitry Kazlou, aka Gray Cat, who was about to leave for Minsk to participate in the rally urged for by blogger NEXTA. In Brest, they attempted to prevent bloggers Kabanau and Petrukhin from arriving in Minsk to support blogger Maslouski.

In Kurapaty, law enforcers detained six activists, including a deputy candidate.

Overall, law enforcers appear to be willing to resume repressions against protest activists in the case the unauthorized public activity becomes more popular.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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