Analysis on Draft Law "On making Amendments and Addenda to Several Laws of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Referenda

The Draft Law "On making amendments and addenda to several laws of the Republic of Belarus on elections and referenda” and the subsequent invalidation of the “Act on the Central Commission of Belarus for Elections and National Referenda" was introduced in the House of Representatives of the Republic of Belarus on November 24, 2009 by the President of the Republic of Belarus. It was reviewed during the first reading on November 30, 2009 and was planned to pass after the second reading on December 10, 2010. This analysis was prepared by the Minsk based legal think tank the Society for Comparative Legal Studies to cover the most important trends in the electoral legislation the change in legislation brings along with its impact on the electoral process.


For the first time in the history of sovereign Belarus a draft law takes into consideration suggestions of the OSCE / ODIHR, the Belarusian expert community and civil society in the country.
Changes and additions touched more than a third of all articles of the Electoral Code, while a number of additional articles were introduced. The significant changes are the following:
  • formation of electoral commissions, with the exception of the Central Commission, so that at least one third of them were representatives of political parties and public associations;
  • simplifying the procedures for nomination of presidential candidates, candidates for the House of Representatives and the local councils of deputies, both by collecting signatures, and from political parties;
  • change in conditions to conduct the election campaigns both indoors and outdoors (compared with 2006);
  • permission of non-state financing of election campaigns for presidential candidates and candidates for deputies of the House of Representatives by establishing their own election funds;
  • elections of local councils of deputies by the majority system in one round without having the threshold of voter turnout required for the recognition of the elections to be valid;
  • further codification of election laws by including "the Act On the Central Commission of Belarus for Elections and National Referenda” in the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the provisions of the decrees of the President about the members of the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda with an advisory vote and to declare income and property of candidates for President of the Republic of Belarus and their close relatives. The last is important, since the draft law and the subject of legislative initiative came to the understanding that temporary statutory acts of the Head of State can not regulate an electoral legal relationship, especially in cases where the latter is one of the parties to the electoral process.
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Society for Comparative Legal Studies