Fewer than five alternative candidates are likely to run for presidency in Belarus
Not all potential candidates are likely to collect 100,000 signatures by August 21st, 2015 to support their nomination. For instance, Anatoly Lyabedzka’s Chief of Staff Lev Margolin said that the United Civic Party’s initiative group might not collect the required signatures and would use the remaining time until August 21st for campaigning. A similar situation is likely in the initiative group of Sergey Kalyakin. Representatives of Tatsiana Karatkevich’s initiative group said the required 100,000 signatures would be collected by the due date. According to the state TV, three alternative pro-government candidates – Sergei Gaydukevich, Vladimir Tereschenko and Nikolai Ulahovich would collect the required number of signatures.
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.