Administrative Reform Creates New Opportunities for Opposition
Chairman of the Central Election Commission Ms. Ermoshina said, that village Council of Deputies could be abolished in Belarus.
Administrative reforms will elevate the role of local authorities within the Belarusian power structure. Due to fewer candidates for the 2014 local elections, local elections will carry more weight. Consequently, the structural role of political forces that take part in these elections will also increase.
Administrative filed reform should be regarded as part of the reforms initiated in the Belarus’ state apparatus. The Central Election Commission’s main argument in favor of the abolition of the village Soviets is to save about 30% of the funds allocated for the local elections campaign.
So far, these proposals are under discussion, but the scale of reforms is essential, and has already been called “revolutionary”. In 2010, 1495 local Councils were formed in Belarus, of which 1288 – village Councils. 15 329 Deputies were elected to the village Councils. By scrapping these local authorities, the government hopes to save money allocated for the election campaign, as well as for maintenance of local governments in the period between elections.
In political terms, the administrative reform, if implemented, will have several effects. First, the competition for the seats in the Deputy Councils of higher level (regional, city and district) will increase. Second, the administrative weight of the remaining local Deputies is bound to increase due to the assumption of functions previously performed by village Deputies.
As a result, the government will be forced to tighten control over the electoral process, and in particular, making sure that political opponents do not win seats in the new Councils. In turn, the increased attention by the authorities to all the participants of the upcoming campaign will enable the opposition to become more active in the political arena starting early 2013. It is anticipated, that the campaign will be launched in December 2013.
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.