Belarus – Parliamentary elections

In Belarus, parliamentary elections were held last weekend.

The preliminary OSCE election report states: “In the 23 September parliamentary elections, many OSCE commitments including citizens’ rights to associate, to stand as candidates, and to express themselves freely were not respected, despite some improvements to the electoral law. While there was an increase in the number of candidates put forward by parties, prominent political figures who might have played a role in this contest remained imprisoned or were not eligible to register due to their criminal record. The field of contestants was also constricted by arbitrary administrative actions, leading to a limitation of choice for voters. The elections were not administered in an impartial manner and the complaints and appeals process did not guarantee effective remedy”.

According to the Parties and Elections in Europe website, the 110-member parliament will be occupied by 103 independents, 3 deputies from the Communist Party of Belarus, 1 from the Agrarian Party, and 1 from the Republican Party of Labour and Justice. My understanding is that no opposition members were returned.

On 25 September the members of the Upper House were elected. Wikipedia provides the following information about the electoral process: “Eight members of the Council of the Republic are appointed by the President of Belarus and the remaining members are elected by secret vote: eight members of the Council of the Republic are elected from each of the country’s region and Minsk City at sessions of local Soviets of Deputies of the basic level.” According to one report, the new members were elected “almost unanimously”. So, again, there is unlikely to be any opposition.

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