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.
According to Decree No. 221 of June 23rd, 2017, deadlines for the completion of foreign trade operations have been extended from 90 to 180 days for exports and from 60 to 90 days for imports. Delayed payments entailed a fine up to 2% of the transaction cost for each day of the delay, but could not exceed the total cost of the transaction. Most companies, when working with new counterparties, require a deferred payment for a period of three to six months. Due to the new regulation, violations are likely to reduce in number, so as the fines. Trade enterprises are likely to expand the assortment list due to the supply of new products in small lots, and the assortment list of exported Belarusian goods could expand, too. The new terms for completing foreign trade transactions would enable medium and small companies on the foreign trade market, exporters and importers are likely to grow in number and the geography of export-import operations could expand.