Belarusian authorities to reduce competition for parliamentary seats to preserve control over election process

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August 17, 2016 10:56
Image: Yahieni Jerchak, TUT.BY

The Belarusian authorities are content with the high competition for the seats in the parliament so as it bridges the split in the Belarusian society and cuts supporters of radical changes. However, the Belarusian authorities are afraid to lose control over the electoral process in the case there are numerous candidates. The authorities are likely to filter out some oppositional and pro-governmental candidates from political parties and nomenclature.

The Belarusian authorities have sufficient legal instruments not to register most prominent and controversial nominees from the opposition on formal grounds. For instance, the authorities have warned several potential oppositional candidates during the signature collection stage, which could be a valid reason for their non-registration. In addition, late into the candidates’ nomination stage, Central Electoral Commission head Yarmoshina complained about some potential candidates, such as Ales Lahvinets from For Freedom movement and Andrey Dmitriev from Tell the Truth campaign, for being too active. Nevertheless, the brightest potential candidates are unlikely to be tossed out at the registration stage.

As usual, President Lukashenka warned business against interfering with the electoral process and noted that efforts to finance candidates’ campaigns would be futile. It should be noted, however, that unlike in previous years, the president’s rhetoric in respect of business was relatively mild and did not contain any direct threats.

The Belarusian authorities have created a large reserve of loyal candidates from political parties and public institutions, which could be tossed out. In some districts, several nomenclatural candidates or nominees from pro-government parties have applied for the registration as candidates. Apparently, potential candidates have exceeded in number the authorities’ capacity to control the election process.  The election organisers therefore are likely to filter out a lion’s share of applicants to an acceptable level.

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