Updated at 20:51,24-11-2020

'Changing electoral law before parliamentary elections impossible'

Zmicier Lukashuk, Euroradio

An inter-ministerial expert working group on Tuesday started working in Minsk to review the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR. On February 16, members of the group held the first organizational meeting. It was noted at the meeting that it makes no sense to expect that the upcoming parliamentary elections will be held in line with the recommendations of ODIHR, since there will be not enough time to make them in the electoral laws.

According to the director of the National Centre for Legislation and Legal Research Vadzim Ipatau, the assessment team should first of all study the recommendations of the ODIHR and develop an appropriate "legislative proposal."

Vadzim Ipatau: "After the legislative proposal, a working group of interested state bodies, which conceptually prepare the new project, is to be set up. This project has to be coordinated with all the agencies concerned. Coordination also takes time. After a bill draft gets approved by all the bodies, it has to undergo the procedure of legal expertise and criminological examination. Only then a bill draft can be tabled to the House of Representatives for review."

Examination of the bill by the deputies (amendments, review in two readings) will take more than one month. And then one needs to send the approved law to the Senate of the Republic, and finally to the head of state to be signed.

Vadzim Ipatau concludes from all this that even to develop a well-prepared bill on the amendments to the electoral legislation will take time. Indeed, as of now the members of the expert group are yet to decide which of the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations may be included in the bill draft.

The members of the expert group agreed on Tuesday that by 26 February each of them will have independently examined the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR and submited their proposals for implementation. Thereafter, until March 4, the team members will be getting acquainted with the proposals of others. And only after that the next meeting of the interdepartmental expert working group will be scheduled to review the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR.