Belarusian parties prepare for Parliamentary elections
On 5 June, the 13th Congress of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Gramada) voted for the new leader, replacing A. Lyaukovich with the Head of the Grodno regional organization of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Gramada) Irina Veshtard. Voting results as follows: For - 77 Against - 1 Abstained - 7.
Belarus has made a second major step towards the “constructive opposition” of the parties that were not directly involved in the presidential campaign of 2010 and therefore suffered much less political losses. The probability is high that the BSDP (G) will express desire to participate in the Parliamentary elections and will not boycott them.
The BSDP (G) made a second attempt to change party leadership after failure to do so a year ago. Last year the Congress also voted for the new Chairman, Mr. Sidarevich to replace Mr. Lyaukovich however the Justice Ministry of Belarus found the decision of the Congress illegitimate. While confirmation from the Justice Ministry of the Congress results is pending, the new leadership of the BSDP (G) is refraining from any strategic statements about the party’s future plans.
However, there are grounds to assume that the party plans will be similar to the plans of the left-wing Belarusian Party “Fair World”, whose leader, S. Kalyakin has already announced his intention to participate in the Parliamentary elections at the Congress held on 29 May.
Unlike other Belarusian political parties (e.g. UCP and BPF), which after 19 December must resolve a difficult dilemma whether “to participate in the legitimating election campaigns prior to release of political prisoners or not”, the BSDP (G) does not face this dilemma explicitly.
Therefore, if the BSDP (G) follows the example of “Fair World” one might speak about the formation of a “constructive unit” within the Belarusian opposition, which is prepared for a domestic dialogue with th authorities thereby maintaining their domestic legitimacy.
The country's leadership has instructed the local authorities to raise minimum wages at enterprises by the end of 2019 to BYN 1,000, which would lead to an increase in the average wage in the economy as a whole to BYN 1 500. The pace of wage growth in 2017 is insufficient to ensure payroll at BYN 1000 by late 2017 without manipulating statistical indicators. In order to fulfil the president’s order, the government would have to increase budgetary expenditures on wages in healthcare and education, enterprises – to carry out further layoffs and expand the practice of taking loans to pay wages and restrict investment in modernisation of fixed assets. In 2010, the artificial increase in wages led to a threefold devaluation in 2011, an increase in the average salary to BYN 1500 will not match the capabilities of the economy and would lead to yet another devaluation.