Belarusian leadership strengthens role of parliament in rectifying unpopular government initiatives
The Belarusian leadership has allowed a critical discussion between the parliament and the government on unpopular initiatives. MPs with a critical view and established feedback from the population help to limit and rectify the government's most resonant actions to reduce social guarantees for the population. In all likelihood, the role of the parliament and the public activities of MPs would increase as the president takes a back seat in resolving current issues and identifying strategic priorities for the state.
Belarusian MPs have stood up for drivers and criticized the Government during the presentation of its activity report.
Amid reduced involvement of the president in the activity of the state apparatus, some prominent representatives of the power system have taken the initiative to resolve the most pressing issues in society. Apparently, some representatives of elected bodies, especially the parliament, are feeling an increased pressure from the population and pass people’s concerns to the government in order to cure the most unpopular initiatives, and to boost their popular ratings among the electorate.
Some parliamentarians and local deputies have continued to communicate with their voters after the elections. Most likely, they regard popular support as an additional asset in their career amid languishing state resources, staff cuts and enhanced competition in the public sector. In addition, some of them might have weaker positions and connections in the nomenclatural environment, which they try to offset with their popular ratings and influence on public opinion.
That said, it could not be ruled out that some of them (second and third level managers) count on the attention and support from the president, so as they do not pose a threat to his domination on the national level. In turn, President Lukashenka does not oppose to balancing out the influence of supporters of austerity measures from the government with MPs, who have a consistent feedback from the local population. For example, MP Politiko from Baranovichi (he has been elected twice already), has repeatedly (sometimes quite harshly) criticised the government on various issues; he has also proposed to revise the redistribution of the toll payments in favour of the local budgets.
Overall, the role of the parliament and some MPs in the power system has started to transform to offset the reduced public activity of the president and his non-involvement in resolving ongoing managerial issues and rectifying unpopular government initiatives.
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.