Belarusian centre-right opposition coalition will participate in parliamentary elections

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April 22, 2016 19:38

The centre-right opposition coalition – the United Civic Party, For Freedom Movement and Belarusian Christian Democracy – is set to accumulate resources in order to participate in the parliamentary campaign, given that For Freedom Movement decides on political participation. Other opposition parties, such as Tell the Truth, the Belarusian Popular Front and the Fair World, are likely to participate in the parliamentary elections independently.

On November 10th, 2015 at the Assembly of the European People’s Party in Brussels, UCP leader Anatol Lyabedzka, For Freedom Movement leader Yury Hubarevich and Organizing Committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy head Vital Rymashevskiy announced their readiness to form the centre-right coalition. On November 13th, they held a press conference in order to explain their common goal, i.e. to participate in the next election campaign together so as they shared common values. In addition, the coalition addressed European politicians with a request to link changes in the electoral law directly with the lifting of sanctions against the Lukashenka regime.

While talking to journalists, Hubarevich and Rymashevsky said that European politicians had prompted them to unite. The declaration of the centre-right coalition implied the non-inclusion of other participants. Some analysts believe that the coalition has been created against the Tell the Truth and ex-presidential candidate Tatsiana Karatkevich. However, the coalition principles also exclude Mikola Statkevich (as leftist social democrat) and Fair World Leftist Party with its leader, Sergei Kaliakin. In addition, the coalition frameworks have appeared too narrow to the right-wing Belarusian Popular Front, which originally signed the centre-right coalition declaration.

Despite the fact that all external attempts to unite the opposition have failed in the past and only lead to distrust and conflicts between the opposition parties, the union between the FFM, BCD and UCP into a centre-right coalition is only reasonable. These political forces’ own resources are quite modest and they would be unlikely to participate in the parliamentary campaign individually and would have to continue to advocate for a boycott.

Overall, the opposition is likely to participate in the parliamentary campaign in its ‘natural’ state, i.e. with leftist, right and centrist agendas, which indicates a significant decrease in the influence by foreign partners on the opposition forces’ decisions.

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Growth in real wages may disrupt macroeconomic balance in Belarus
October 02, 2017 12:12
Фото: Дмитрий Брушко, TUT.BY

The rapid increase in wages has led to a decline in the ratio between labour productivity and real wages to one. Previously, the rule was that enterprises, in which the state owned more than 50% of shares in the founding capital, were not allowed increasing salaries if this ratio was equal to or less than one. The authorities are unlikely to be able to meet the wage growth requirement without long-term consequences for the economy. Hence, the government is likely to contain wage growth for the sake of economic growth.

According to Belstat, In January – August 2017, GDP growth was 1.6%. The economic revival has led to an increase in wages. In August, the average monthly wage was BYN 844.4 or USD 435, i.e. grew by 6.6% since early 2017, adjusted for inflation. This has reduced the ratio between labour productivity and real wages from 1.03 in January 2017 to 1 in the first seven months of 2017. This parameter should not be less than 1, otherwise, the economy starts accumulating imbalances.

The need for faster growth in labour productivity over wage growth was stated in Decree No 744 of July 31st, 2014. The decree enabled wages growth at state organizations and organizations with more than 50% of state-owned shares only if the ratio between growth in labour productivity and wages was higher than 1. Taking into account the state's share in the economy, this rule has had impact on most of the country's key enterprises. In 2013 -2014 wages grew rapidly, which resulted in devaluation in 2014-2015.

Faster wage growth as compared with growth in labour productivity carries a number of risks. Enterprises increase cost of wages, which subsequently leads to a decrease in the competitiveness of products on the domestic and foreign markets. In construction, wholesale, retail trade, and some other industries the growth rate of prime cost in 2017 outpaces the dynamics of revenue growth. This is likely to lead to a decrease in profits and a decrease in investments for further development. Amid wage growth, the population is likely to increase import consumption and reduce currency sales, which would reduce the National Bank's ability to repay foreign and domestic liabilities.

The Belarusian government is facing a dilemma – either to comply with the president’s requirement of a BYN 1000 monthly wage, which could lead to new economic imbalances and could further affect the national currency value, or to suspend the wage growth in order to retain the achieved economic results. That said, the first option bears a greater number of negative consequences for the nomenclature.

Overall, the rapid growth in wages no longer corresponds the pace of economic development. The government is likely to retain the economic growth and retrain further growth in wages. Staff reshuffles are unlikely to follow the failure to meet the wage growth requirement.

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