Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Early Voting Begins in Belarus Local Elections

The early voting period in Belarus` elections for local soviets began on April 20.

The polling stations will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a break in the afternoon during the five-day period.

Voters are required to produce their passports to cast ballots. Other documents that entitle people to vote early include the pension certificate, student identification card, military card (for military servicemen), certificate of employment (for civil servants), and a residence document (for Russian citizens living permanently in Belarus).

In the previous local elections held in 2007, 25 percent of all registered voters cast their ballots during the early voting period, Mikalay Lazavik, secretary of the central election commission, told BelaPAN.

The percentage is expected to be smaller this year, he said.

"A greater attention to the organization of the early voting stage should be paid in urban areas," Mr. Lazavik said. "There are many mobile citizens there, such as [non-resident] students who go home, workers and pensioners who leave the cities for their dachas [summer houses]. But I don’t think that it is needed very much to spur the voting in rural areas. People are unlikely to leave their places at the weekend. They will go to the polls on the main voting day with a bigger enthusiasm to feel the festive atmosphere and watch artists’ performances."

Mr. Lazavik said the central election commission had given "appropriate recommendations" at special seminars held earlier for local authorities responsible for the conduct of elections. If the recommendations are fulfilled, the turnout may be lower, he said.