In accordance with the regulations of the House of Representatives, the draft amendments to the Electoral Code were reviewed by a structural unit of the Secretariat and found compliant with the requirements of the procedure for submitting draft laws to the House of Representatives.
Hanna Kanapatskaya specifically notes that the alternative Electoral Code submitted to the House of Representatives is based on the draft law previously developed by the MFF.
“A working group was created in the autumn of 2016 consisting of representatives of opposition political and other public associations to prepare draft amendments to the Electoral Code,” explains Kanapatskaya. “However, after technical remarks were made to the document by governmental agencies in October 2017, the group abandoned the work on the draft law. As a result, the document was finalized independently by me and my assistants.”
The main controversial points of the current electoral legislation are the election commissions’ formation procedure, the rights of observers, the procedure for early voting, and the counting of votes. Addressing the legislative gaps in these issues would significantly increase the transparency of the electoral process, increase the citizens’ trust in the electoral procedures, and bring the Belarusian legislation in line with the main OSCE’s international democratic norms for the conduct of elections.
The prepared amendments to the Belarusian Electoral Code would expand — within the framework of the current legislation — the rights of observers, in particular, allow them to view the electoral lists, record the course of voting — including the counting of votes — by any technical means, including making audio recordings, photographing, and making video recordings in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law.
Election commissions of all levels shall be formed primarily from among the representatives of political parties that nominated their candidates. At the presidential elections, each registered candidate shall have the right to have their representative in each commission.
Early voting shall be only held at one polling station of each constituency between 12 a.m. to 8 p.m. with no breaks, and the unused ballots shall be sealed daily at the end of voting. Voting at home shall be conducted only if the voter indicates the reason of their impossibility to vote at the polling station.
The counting of votes shall be conducted by demonstrating each ballot from a distance allowing observers to see the marks in it.
Applying these standards in practice would make the election process truly open, which would restore the voters’ trust in the elections in Belarus as a tool to delegate their rights to worthy candidates to represent the legitimate interests of citizens in government agencies, including the office of president.
— When will the House of Representatives consider Anna Kanapatskaya’s draft law?
“At first, the draft law shall be considered by the profile commission. It is this commission that recommends draft laws to be submitted to the session.”
— So, will they have time to consider the draft alternative Electoral Code at this session?
“Draft laws are passed over one session in two readings in Belarus. However, I don’t know what will happen to this draft law. For now, I’m waiting.”
Pavel Mazak, ‘Belarusian Partisan’