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.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.