The Federation of Trade Unions and the "Belaya Rus" will be the main competitors in the parliamentary campaign
On 9 July, 110 district election commissions which will operate during the Parliamentary election campaign in September were set up.
The formation of district election commissions went according to plan with no sign that the upcoming election campaign will differ significantly from the 2008 campaign. A much greater influence on election outcome is exerted by local election commissions, which will be formed in early August.
According to the estimates of Belarusian human rights activists, minor progress has been observed at this stage of the campaign: in 2012 the proportion of the opposition in district election commissions rose to 3.3% versus 2.2% in 2008. This could be explained by the increased activity of opposition parties which have nominated 199 representatives against 118 in district commissions in 2008.
However, pro-governmental public organizations remain the most active and successful ones in nominating their representatives. Thus, the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus has nominated 279 members, 206 of which were included in the commissions (or 14.4% of the composition of all commissions.) The public association \"Belaya Rus\" has nominated 110 members (106 of them included, or 7.4%), the Belarusian Republican Youth Union has nominated 108 members (86 on, or 6%).
As a result, namely these three organizations are leaders in terms of representation of their members in district election commissions.
It can be concluded from this fact that the main struggle for influence in the campaign will take place between the Federation of Trade Unions and the \"White Russia\", which have repeatedly stated about their desire to play a more important role in the government policy of Belarus (specially on political plans of the \"Belaya Rus\", see the previous issue of monitoring).
In this case, the formation of local election commissions, to be completed by 8 August 8, will become the next step in this confrontation. Traditionally, the outcome of elections in Belarus is determined to not by district, but by local election commissions, which are directly involved in vote count and report the results to the district. Therefore, a more accurate prediction of the likely outcome of the campaign can be made after 8 August.
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.