Presidential candidate Yaraslaw Ramanchuk, deputy chairman of the liberal United Civic Party (UCP), has been offered the post of prime minister or deputy prime minister in charge of economic reform.
As Mr. Ramanchuk told reporters in Minsk on Monday, the offer was made last week by two officers of the Presidential Administration during an informal meeting. "They didn’t suggest that I should withdraw from the election," he said. "The representatives of the Administration said that some of my ideas were of a constructive nature."
According to Mr. Ramanchuk, he said that he could accept the offer provided certain conditions were met. In particular, he suggested that the Council of Ministers should be given more powers, and that the services of "real professionals" should be enlisted.
UCP leader Anatol Lyabedzka noted that similar informal meetings might have taken place with other opposition presidential candidates.
When asked during a December 9 online question-and-answer session hosted by BelaPAN whether he was ready to serve in the post of prime minister if such an offer came from the current government, Mr. Ramanchuk said, "The point is not in the rank or position, but in the powers of the prime minister. At present the prime minister is a sort of whipping boy for the Presidential Administration. He even doesn’t have the right to dismiss a deputy minister, although that one can publicly tell him where to get off. This is a problem of the government system. I’m ready to assume responsibility for carrying out systemic market reforms in the country. For this purpose, it is necessary to reform the government system and start a dialogue with the public and the business community."