Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko held a government conference to discuss topical social and political matters on 10 June. Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko, Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Natalya Kochanova, and Head of the Belarus President Property Management Directorate Viktor Sheiman also took part in the meeting.
Aleksandr Lukashenko described matters concerning the organization of the election campaign and the support the election commission may need, particularly, the technical side of things, as one of the main topics of the meeting. “We should provide all the support the CEC may ask for,” the head of state said.
“I would like to discuss the issues that [Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission] Lidia Yermoshina may have before the beginning of the most important period of registration and campaigning of future presidential candidates,” the head of state said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that this meeting is a traditional one. “We have always considered the problems that we will have to address and the matter of assistance to the Central Electoral Commission,” the president noted.
The head of state noted that the CEC employs only several people on a permanent basis. “The CEC employs two people on a permanent basis - me and the secretary. And seven people work as support staff,” Lidia Yermoshina said.
“It is clear that two officials concerned cannot organize the election, especially from the technical point of view. The President Administration and the President Property Management Directorate have always provided the necessary support to the CEC. Moreover, this should be done carefully so that neither we nor Lidia Mikhailovna [Yermoshina] would be reproached for using some administrative leverage and resources of the president (who is also a potential presidential candidate). We need to provide any support that the CEC requires,” said the head of state.
In his words, Lidia Yermoshina confirmed that there are no problems with financing and there can be none. “As always, we provide support in terms of the means of communication, transportation, support for people, who work in precinct election commissions. Enterprises should also provide support to these commissions and so on,” the Belarusian leader pointed out.
Aleksandr Lukashenko asked Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission Lidia Yermoshina to talk about the current situation: “I want you to tell me everything that’s going on (I keep an eye on the situation). Everything concerning the CEC and you.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed: “I see everything. Don’t worry. It is the most important thing. We will bring everyone to their senses when and where it is necessary. There will be no coups in the country. Or maidan-like revolutions.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “I’ve been recently getting complaints from people within the framework of the so-called election campaign. I am sure you’ve been getting them, too. I am particularly outraged by the fact that private companies fire people in Minsk, other cities (it typically happens in cities). I wouldn’t go as far as to describe it as mass layoffs but they fire a lot of people. I have already made a statement regarding the problem. Firing people is one thing, but the companies fire people because they fail to sign in support of the so-called alternative candidates.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko asked Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko, Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Natalya Kochanova, and Head of the Belarus President Property Management Directorate Viktor Sheiman to help deal with the problem and work out a system of inspections to check private companies. “It does not happen at state-run enterprises,” the head of state noted. “I want you to find out why people were fired in the last three months. I would like to publicly state: if they want to work properly in Belarus and benefit the country without offending people, they must give the jobs back to the people and give them their due salaries due to unreasonable layoffs.”
The president was indignant: “I asked not to lay off people due to this pandemic at the beginning of the year. The election has nothing to do with it. But no, they started firing people. The employers are brazen enough to tell people to feel free to quit if they support Lukashenko. What is all this? I received complaints from several people and wanted the reports verified. They sack unprotected people, people who have no dad, no mom to protect them.”
“Which means we should bring these bourgeois to their senses. No one is allowed to offend ordinary people. Not because they put me in power once but because such things must not happen in our country,” the head of state stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said he wanted the prosecutor general, the State Control Committee, and other agencies and municipal authorities to inspect these “potbellied bourgeois” in order to make them feel responsibility for their employees. “What kind of a system is this? They can afford going to Goa, the Canary Islands, some other islands but they can’t pay good salaries to people and even dare fire them,” the head of state pointed out.