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Election 2015. Signature collection campaign kicks off in Belarus

MINSK (BelTA) - The collection of signatures to nominate candidates for the post of the President of Belarus was launched in Belarus on 23 July. This stage of the presidential election campaign will last till 21 August inclusively, BelTA informs.

The signature sheet should contain information about the nominee for the presidency (surname, name and patronymic, date of birth, post, place of employment and place of residence, party status). The signature sheet should also contain the surname, name and patronymic of the member of the initiative group that collects signatures. The signature sheet is filled in the Belarusian or Russian languages.

Members of initiative groups will have to have an identification document issued by the Central Election Commission and a personal identification document. These documents have to be produced to the voters.

Signatures can be collected via picketing. No permission to picket is necessary if picketing takes place in locations other than those recognized by municipal authorities as unacceptable for picketing. For instance, in Minsk picketing is banned in the metro, on the railway and air transport, in underground crosswalks, in Oktyabrskaya Square, Nezavisimosti Square, Victory Square, State Flag Square, Yakub Kolas Square, near the President's residences, the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers, national government bodies, local representative, executive and regulatory bodies, diplomatic representations and consular establishments, courts, procuracy bodies. Picketing in the Belarusian capital is allowed from 8am till 10pm.

Signatures can be collected from military personnel in Belarusian army units on approval of the commander of the specific army unit during off-hours at the location specified by the unit commander. In order to collect signatures in a dormitory, members of initiative groups will have to observe visitor rules of the specific dormitory.

Citizens cannot be forced to sign or be rewarded for signing. Rewards are recognized as money, gifts, other material values, discounts on prices for merchandise or preferential prices for services. The administration of an organization cannot be involved in signature collection during business hours.

Citizens, who are nominated as presidential candidates, cannot order persons in their employ to collect signatures during business hours. Signatures cannot be collected during business trips. Members of initiative groups cannot give away printed materials to voters during signature collection. Information materials containing biographic data about the persons that citizens sign up for can be provided to voters only for reading and have to be returned afterwards.

Earlier, the Central Election Commission of Belarus completed the registration of initiative groups to nominate candidates for the post of the President. The CEC approved the registration of eight initiative groups, i.e. of Alexander Lukashenko, Sergei Kalyakin, Sergei Gaidukevich, Viktor Tereshchenko, Nikolai Ulakhovich, Zhanna Romanovskaya, Tatiana Korotkevich and Anatoly Lebedko.

At least 100,000 signatures are needed for a candidate to get registered. Belarus citizens are free to give their signatures to several candidates, however, they can give their signatures to a specific candidate only once.

Coordinators of initiative groups will have to submit signature lists to the relevant election commissions on 21 August 2015 at the latest.