Belarus might hold Parliamentary Elections on September 11

nsnbc : Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko supported the proposal to hold elections to the House of Representatives of the National Assembly on September 11.

Photo courtesy BelTa

Photo courtesy BelTa

After meeting Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko, Lidia Yermonshina told the press that the Head of State supported the prosed date for the elections. Yeremoshina, the head of the Central Election Commission said:

“Today we discussed the optimal date for the election. The President agreed that it will be 11 September. The election campaign shall commence no later than 10 June. However, the head of state agreed that the decree announcing the date of the election should be signed somewhat earlier. Therefore, it is expected that the election campaign will start three days before the deadline, namely on 7 June this year. On 8 June the Central Election Commission plans to approve the plan of organizational actions, the electoral budget, and the boundaries of constituencies … Before the official appointment of the election we are restricted in our actions. The only event that the Central Election Commission is planning is the adoption of the guidelines for precinct, district and territorial election commissions. We are planning to do in the mid-May so that all organizers of the election, potential candidates should have the documents governing the electoral process before the election campaign starts”.

Lidia Yermonshina added that these documents will partly take into account proposals tabled by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). With regard to the election to the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly, they are expected to be held from 18 June to 18 September this year. They are held in stages during a three-month period.

“Every oblast and Minsk city shall determine independently the dates of meetings of deputies which will elect members of the Council of the Republic. It is just the period within which the elections are carried out in the territory of every region is one and the same for all regions”, said Yeremoshina. The four-year term of the chambers of the National Assembly of Belarus of the fifth convocation begins from their first meetings and shall expire on 17 October 2016 for the House of Representatives (the first meeting was held on 18 October 2012) and 18 October 2016 for the Council of the Republic (the first meeting was held on 19 October 2012). According to Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the elections to both houses of Parliament are called by the President. The election of the new houses of Parliament shall be announced no later than four months and shall be held not later than 30 days prior to the expiration of the term of office of the houses of the current convocation.

President Lukashenko stressed, on April 27, that the elections should be held in a calm and democratic atmosphere and called for a period of calm prior to the election date. The State news agency BelTa quoted Lukashenko as saying: “According to the established practice, people will express their will in a democratic and calm atmosphere. The main thing is that we should ensure the highest organizational level as we have always done”. Lukashenko noted that special attention should be paid to the formation of election commissions. They should comprise decent representatives of labor collectives, political parties and public associations.

Photo courtesy BelTa

Photo courtesy BelTa

“International observers are expected to come to the country. Their number should not be limited,” the President said. In his words, invitations should be sent out after the date of the elections is announced. The session also discusses the proposals to improve the election process, including those based on the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations and those elaborated by the inter-departmental group of experts that was set up following the President’s instruction. “Some of them can be introduced now. Others will be implemented later, with the relevant adjustments to the Election Code,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

Luksahenko noted the need to decide on the recommendations of international observers that deserve primary attention and leave out the proposals that contradict the interests of the Belarusian people. “We must remember that during the election campaign we must be guided, first of all, by our legislation. We must not dance to someone’s tune,” the Belarusian leader said. He added that the Belarusian election legislation corresponds to the international principles and takes into account Belarus’ electoral rules and traditions. “Our legislation is not worse than that of other states which elections are recognized by international organizations,” said the head of state. No remarks were made about the date, September 11, being “ominous”.

CH/L – nsnbc 27.04.2016

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