CEC completed initial parliamentary selection
The Central Election Commission tried to limit the competition already at the first stage of the election process. Competitiveness has been reduced at the cost of high percentage of registration denials to the opposition candidates. This means that at a later stage the authorities can be a little softer and the observers will be able to note some progress.
The CEC registered 362 candidates out of 494 nominated for the House of Representatives elections to be held on September 23rd.
The highest number in registration denials was among those who were nominated through the signatures collection, and thus already started campaigning in their regions. In particular, there was a significant screening among nominees from “Tell the Truth!” and “For Freedom” movements, which could be associated with their intention to go to the end of the election campaign. From the authorities’ point of view, this could create some problems, both during the campaign and during the votes counting.
On the contrary, most of the parliamentary elections’ boycott supporters (in one way or another) were successfully registered as candidates. Thus, 35 candidates of 48 runners up have been registered in the United Civil Party and 30 of 33 in the Belarusian Popular Front.
The registration stage finished with the formation of at least 3 uncontested constituencies, where the only candidates were powerful officials. In particular, Vileika, Baranavichy and Zaslavsky districts reported only one candidate registered: Rusakov (KGB Chief Directorate for economic security Head , Yazubets (Baranovichi Executive Committee Chairman) and Myakinnik (Petrishki Rural Executive Committee Chairman) respectively.
Parliament’s recognition by the international observers has never been and is not the goal of the authorities: legitimate Parliament would threaten the existing political system stability and President’s unilateral domination. Parliament should be fully controlled, and Deputy’s chair should be a promotion for loyalty.
Therefore, the election campaign should ensure the following: a) parliaments’ full accountability, b) awarding the ‘loyal’, c) citizens’ mobilization to vote, however without their active involvement in the election process, i.e. to ritualize the election process, d) recognition of the ‘progress’ achieved in the elections’ organization by international observers. Authorities’ actions, such as cutting off the most active candidates, keeping uncontested constituencies for ‘official representatives’, controlled competition, were meant to meet these challenges.
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.