Opposition follows track set by parliamentary campaign
Belarusian opposition remains divided along the same lines as after the autumn parliamentary elections. This split impacts the attitude towards both, the 2015 presidential election and activities in between elections. The forecast is that the split of the opposition into at least two blocks will remain until the presidential election.
In early January, the Belarusian Popular Front, the “For Freedom” and “Tell the Truth!” movements started consultations about a single candidate for the 2015 presidential election. The appearance in early 2013 of the ‘triplex’ coalition of one political party and two major social movements gives them a temporary head start to prepare for the campaign.
In turn, opposition parties that have not yet decided about their pre-election tactics, risk falling into a temporal trap and may not have the time to implement their initiatives. This is especially true for the United Civil Party, which has already proposed a procedure for determining a single opposition candidate via so-called primaries however it has not yet found allies to implement this project.
Among other proposals related to the selection process of a single candidate and forming a single coalition were: holding Coordinating Council meeting, Popular Assembly and Congress of Democratic Forces. However they all were discarded. Today opposition politicians incline towards ‘small’ coalitions based on personal and corporate connections, rather than contract binding broad opposition coalition.
Thus, in early 2013, the Belarusian opposition can be divided into three groups. The first group unites supporters of participation in the presidential election in the single candidate format (‘triplex’). The second group is yet undecided about participation in the elections in a single-candidate format. This group, however, has solidarity regarding the politicians and journalists disappeared in 1999-2000 - an extremely sensitive issue for the ruling group.
On January 24th, the UCP Party invited all democratic forces to recall the disappearances of politicians and journalists in Belarus in 1999-2000 and received a positive feedback from the organizing committee of the Belarusian Christian Democracy and the “Fair World” Party. It will be recalled that in December 2012 former head of Minsk detention center No 1 and political refugee Mr. Alkayev said that he had new evidence that could shed light on the disappearances.
Finally, the most radical opposition immigration focuses primarily on the information work. The organizing committee head of the National Revival Council Mr. Borodach runs his analytical campaigns in the internet, which do not find response from the opposition politicians in Belarus. Former presidential candidate and political refugee Mr. Sannikov also limits to interviews in European media, without making any policy statements and acts primarily as an expert on foreign policy towards Belarus.
Since there are no attempts of rapprochement between the different blocs and, in fact, there are no grounds for it, most likely outcome will be the nomination of several candidates from different political blocs. Apparently, the issue of a single opposition candidate should be removed from the agenda.
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.