December 2 – December 8, 2019
The ruling elite

As the presidential elections draw closer, the political weight of security forces and parliament is increasing

The situation has not changed
As the presidential elections draw closer, the political weight of security forces and parliament is increasing

Apparently, the authorities have chosen a tough scenario for the presidential campaign, which is evidenced by the growing role of the power bloc in the government system. The parliament’s role in the power system is also increasing amid announced constitutional reforms after the 2020 presidential elections.

Amid looming presidential elections, the president further rotates his executives and strengthens the role of security forces, allegedly, due to fears of growing protest sentiments and the need to discipline executives given low popular support for public institutions. Major General Ihar Serheyenka, the KGB First Deputy Chairman, was appointed to lead the presidential administration, which means that the authorities are likely to tighten the conditions for the presidential election in 2020.

The Minsk Central District court has ruled that blogger Putila’s film about President Lukashenka was an extremist one. Before the presidential elections, law enforcers are likely to tighten targeted repressions against bloggers and social media activists. In addition, they continue to chase supporters and organisers of public rallies during the parliamentary campaign.

In turn, former head of the presidential administration Kachanava is now heading the Council of the Republic. This indicates that the authorities are likely to engage in a dialogue with most active protest groups in the case of tension over socio-economic issues (but not political).

The political weight of the Central Election Commission in organizing political campaigns has reduced while the role of the presidential administration increased. The date of the presidential elections has not even been discussed with Central Election Commission Head Yarmoshyna, who aspires to resign in the spring of 2021.

Last week, the president spoke in parliament, addressing the outgoing and incoming MPs. Presumably, he aims to extend their political responsibility in the face of reduced social protection and possible constitutional reform.

The Belarusian leadership is likely to tighten financial liability for public activity before the presidential elections and reduce mobilization and campaigning capacities of the opposition.

Author: Zmicier Kuchlej

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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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