Meeting of the Political Council of the UCP
On 29 April Minsk hosted a meeting of the Political Council of the United Civil Party, which announced the launch of a nationwide campaign “Building new, preserving the best”: The meeting was chaired by the Chairman of the UCP Mr. Lebedko.
This event is a milestone for the UCP, a prominent opposition party in Belarus. Following the presidential campaign of 2010, at the end of which the party leader Lebedko was arrested and the behaviour of a presidential candidate and the Deputy Chairman of the UCP Mr. Romanchuk raised doubts about his future political career, the party had to hold a full session and decide on the future priorities.
The scope of future activities will be determined by the campaign “Building new, preserving the best”, setting up plans to elaborate political and economic development programmes for Belarus, and plans to engage in a dialogue with the authorities. The importance of the statements made during the meeting is that the UCP has no plans to coordinate its work with other political partners. It is rather predictable, given the previously existing logic of split up opposition, that in its new campaign the UCP openly set no priority for cooperation e.g. with the National Committee of Democratic Forces, or with the National Civil Society Forum.
It confirms the long-term trend of the opposition forces in Belarus, who find it more and more difficult to agree among them to represent a united front. The sequential increase in the number of candidates during the presidential elections since 2001 also confirms this trend
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.