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CEC head: Belarusian Parliament may schedule presidential election during spring session in 2020

MINSK (BelTA) – The date of the presidential election in Belarus can be set during the spring session of the parliament in 2020, head of Belarus'' Central Election Commission Lidia Yermoshina said in an interview with the STV channel, BelTA learned.

As it was reported earlier the presidential election in Belarus shall be held no later than 30 August 2020. “I think after the elections to the parliament I will come with a report to the head of state. Together with the Parliament who schedules elections we will discuss the most appropriate period and date of the presidential election. In order not to convene an extraordinary session of the parliament, this can be done during the spring session. The MPs can both set the date and appoint the election,” Lidia Yermoshina said.

She noted that 30 August is a good date as votes are in town as the school year begins on 1 September. All schools hosting polling stations have already been renovated. According to her, this date is acceptable not only from an organizational perspective but also in terms a pre-election campaign as the weather is good for outdoor events such as signature collection, rallies. “But perhaps, candidates will not be happy with the date as many voters will be out of out holidaying during the election campaign,” she added.

In his address to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the parliamentary elections in Belarus will take place in 2019. The head of state suggested 7 November as a date for the elections. But it is Thursday. Elections in Belarus are usually held on Sundays. “The electoral law imposes restrictions only with respect of the presidential election: it should always take place on Sunday. As for all other election campaigns and referendums, the law does not specify the day of the week. There can be another difficulty here, however. We will have public holidays that week on 7, 8, 9, and 10 November, and will work on Saturday, 16 November. Many people may go out of town during those days off which can affect the turnout. The Central Election Commission will suggest another day taking all these circumstances into account. I believe that Sunday, 17 November, is the best option,” Lidia Yermoshina said.

She also spoke about the preparations for the forthcoming election campaigns. “We are currently working with the local authorities on constituency maps for the parliamentary elections. We have already developed instructions for election commissions. In May the Central Election Commission will hold a meeting to pass draft resolutions and approve the average number of the constituency, i.e. the average number of voters living within each constituency,” the CEC chairperson said.

“We do not change election laws. I think that if something changes, they will apply to the organizers of the elections and MP candidates. These can be some measures, certain steps to enhance the transparency of the vote count and election monitoring,” she said.

Lidia Yermoshina also touched upon possible constitutional changes. “If there are any changes which require a referendum according to the Constitution, it will certainly be organized. Such sections are the majority in the Constitution. I think if the Constitution is to be altered, we need to introduce amendments regarding the procedure of introducing amendments. We can hardly change anything via parliament at present. This is why the number of sections which can be changed only through a referendum needs to be reduced,” she said.