The civil campaign Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections has presented a policy paper on its recommendations aimed at reforming the electoral legislation of Belarus. According to the campaign’s experts, these recommendations are crucial for the conduct of free, fair and democratic elections.
The authors say that since 1995 neither international nor domestic observers have recognized the elections in Belarus as free and democratic. The voting results have been challenged by the opposition parties and subjected to fair criticism of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the European Union and the United States.
In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015, the Electoral Code was amended, which was expected to implement the recommendations of the OSCE ODIHR, which were made following the work of international election observation missions in Belarus. However, election procedures preserved their key drawbacks, as evidenced by the latest report of the OSCE ODIHR mission published after observing the parliamentary elections in 2016.
In February 2016, the CEC established an interdepartmental expert working group to study the OSCE ODIHR recommendations, which were made following the presidential election in 2015. Representatives of the campaign Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections have repeatedly written to the CEC head Lidziya Yarmoshyna offering their expert assistance in the work of the group, sent their detailed proposals for the implementation of the ODIHR recommendations, called for the revitalization of the work in this direction. However, the CEC has not provided a constructive response to these measures. At the moment, the interagency working group is continuing its work, and by February 1, it is expected to complete the analysis of the recommendations contained in the final report of the ODIHR OSCE observation mission on the parliamentary elections of September 11, 2016 (the document was published on December 8, 2016) and to develop proposals to amend the electoral law for their further consideration by the Central Election Commission and head of state.
The campaign "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" is a non-partisan initiative and does not intend to support political parties and politicians. The entire election process is assessed solely on the basis of the principles of free, democratic and transparent elections, which can enable the people of Belarus to fully exercise their constitutional right to participate in the government of the country.