Analytical report on the results of monitoring the nomination and registration of candidates

The expert election*2024 observation mission was organized by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Viasna Human Rights Center as part of the "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" campaign. The mission collects and analyzes information about the election campaign based on open sources and messages from voters from Belarus.


- the nomination and registration of candidates took place almost in the total absence of a political campaign as such: there was no information campaign from political parties, voters were not encouraged to sign up for candidates in the public space;

- the mass dissolution of civil society organizations, independent media, and the preservation of only 4 pro-government parties in the legal field after re-registration, i.e. the complete purge of public space, is not considered by the authorities as a sufficient guarantee against the expression of various political opinions: in the current election campaign, the number of places for collecting signatures has decreased, so that even in a purged political field it would not be possible to collect signatures in crowded and convenient places; at the same time, some privileged candidates, despite the prohibitions, violated them with impunity;

- the nomination of candidates by collecting signatures, unlike other methods, does not imply formal attachment to state or political structures, but even it is perceived as unsafe, since any alternative position will almost certainly lead to political persecution, which the authorities continue to actively use against dissenters. As a result of the climate of fear created by the authorities, independent candidates did not run even by collecting signatures; we know of one unsuccessful registration attempt by the leader of the dissolved Green party; nominations by collecting signatures of voters decreased almost three times in comparison with the previous elections to the House of Representatives; and by one and a half times in comparison with the previous local Councils of Deputies elections;

- almost all initiative groups were registered: at the level of elections* to the House of Representatives, only 2 applications were refused registration (one of them, judging by the available information, belonged to the only independent candidate, the leader of the dissolved Green party); at the level of elections* to local Councils, 8 applications were withdrawn, registration was denied to 19, and with respect to 1 application, a decision was made to cancel registration;

- pickets for collecting signatures were not very active, they were rather a formality, and in some cities they were not noticeable at all; a number of evidence and circumstances of signature collection indicate a high degree of administrative control, active use of administrative resources, which is rather aimed not at increasing voter engagement, but at imitating political activity and simplifying the work of initiative groups;

- in the absence of independent observers in the election commissions, it is difficult to assess the process of collecting signatures; its media coverage was minimal; in general, the verification by most election commissions of voter signatures and data on candidates contained in questionnaires and declarations of income and property was opaque and secret;

- 18,999 contenders for deputy candidates to local Councils were nominated, which is significantly less compared to the last campaign, while compared to the 2018 elections, the number of candidates nominated by citizens by collecting signatures decreased by 15.7% and the number of candidates nominated by political parties increased by 19.48%;

- the nomination of candidates in general has significantly decreased; unlike in 2019, when 424 candidates were nominated by political parties including opposition parties, the absence of independent candidates is noticeable in this campaign, since all opposition parties have not been re-registered, and the number of registered independent candidates from parties or public organizations is zero;

- 265 candidates for deputies of the House of Representatives have been registered with the lowest percentage of refusals (8.4%), which indicates that the nomination processes are predetermined. Essentially, the logic is: "at least two persons on the ballot per district" in order to ensure formal competition;

- 18,802 candidates for deputies of local Councils have been registered, while maintaining the trend of past cycles with a low percentage of refusals (0.65%). The average number of registered candidates at the settlement level is equal to one candidate per seat and 1.2 candidates per district at the rural level, i. e. virtually uncontested elections*; it indicates a lack of political initiative, which is also a consequence of the climate of fear, and a very high degree of administrative control (pre-agreed lists of nominated candidates);

- the analysis of the lists of registered candidates allows us to state its downright establishment nature: most of the candidates occupy senior positions and there are almost no candidates with vocational occupations. Unlike previous election cycles, all candidates can be called pro-government; there is no political struggle between them;

- the share of registered women-candidates for deputies of the House of Representatives has increased to 34.7%, which is more than in 2019 (27%); the share of women-candidates for deputies of local Councils increased to 53.75%, which is also more than in 2018 (49.13%);

- there has been a sharp increase in party representation due to the establishment of the Belarusian party "Belaya Rus" in 2023: 42.3% of candidates for the House of Representatives and 27.6% of candidates for local Councils are its members, while the imitative nature of such a party is obvious from the presence of a significant number of districts where members of this party oppose each other;

- the share of re-elected incumbent deputies of local Councils decreased to 38.99% (in 2018 it was 46.73%); 20 deputies of the House of Representatives and 31 incumbent deputies of local Councils were registered for the House of Representatives, which is significantly less than in the last cycle (in 2019, it was 32 deputies of the House of Representatives and 66 deputies of local Councils). Thus, it can be stated that a significant number of new deputies will take office.

The term "elections*" in relation to the 2024 election campaign is used with an asterisk by the "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections" campaign to emphasize the perfunctory nature of this term, since any free and fair election campaign presupposes, first of all, conditions where rights and freedoms are fully realized, including freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, freedom from discrimination, which is currently practically absent in Belarus.