Traditional flow of the Parliamentary campaign
Authorities’ actions prove the election campaign will be held as usual. Authorities are interested in neither changing the traditional format of the parliamentary campaign, nor the Parliaments’ role in the political system.
On July 23rd, at a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives Vladimir Andreichenko, President Lukashenko said he would like to see one third of ‘old’ MPs in the new Parliament and advised on adequate employment for outgoing MPs.
One-third has been a ‘conventional’ ratio for the Belarusian Parliamentary elections for the past twelve years. Despite the fact that this quota is informal and is not formalized by a law, the usual practice is that a new Parliament has about 34% of the Deputies of previous convocation.
In February 2012 the Speaker talked about a record low quota of 20-25% during a similar meeting. This suggested that the authorities had some plans for political system reform, mentioned by the President in an interview with Chinese media in January 2012. However, the details of the reforms have never been made public.
At the same time, formation of candidates’ initiative groups’ statistics shows that MPs focus on the ‘February’ quota. As of July 23rd 24 acting Deputies have been nominated to run for the elections, that is, approximately 22%. All in all, there are 110 Deputies in the lower house of the Belarusian Parliament.
The increase of this informal succession quota to traditional levels could indicate that President’s environment would like to reduce any risks during this election campaign and to hold it without any changes. Foreign Minister Martynov’s visit to Rome for a meeting with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Chairman indirectly confirms this assessment, as well as the invitation of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission to Belarus.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.