With the single voting day approaching, the regime’s main short-term objective is to prevent a new wave of protests
The Belarusian regime has been successful in maintaining power. A strong contributing factor has been Belarusian security and law enforcement agencies, which exercise strict control over the population. Together with other key regime institutions – the ministries, judiciary, and local councils – they remain loyal to Lukashenka.
A sham constitutional reform is in its final stage in Belarus with the sole purpose of consolidating Lukashenka’s power. In early 2023, with the adoption of a law by Belarusian parliament a new supreme legislature – the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly (ABPA) – received constitutional status. The ABPA will consist of 1,200 members and will be elected for a five-year term. ABPA’s mandate includes approval of foreign policy strategic guidelines, security and economy; it will also rule on the validity of election results, appoint judges of Constitutional and Supreme Courts, and members of Central Electoral Commission. Changing the ABPA status gives additional options for Lukashenka. Should he decide to withdraw from the post of president, he will be able to retain power and influence in the country by becoming head of the ABPA.
It is highly likely that in 2023, the Belarusian regime will give most of its attention to the preparation for upcoming elections. During the single Voting Day – 25 February 2024 – local and parliamentary elections are to take place as well as the election of the newly established ABPA. It is likely that in the run-up to the elections, intimidation and political repression of the country’s population will continue in an effort to prevent protests. In addition, the regime will seek to maintain a stable economic situation in Belarus and abstain from any actions that could stir popular dissent, e.g. direct participation in military actions against Ukraine.