Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

OSCE/ODIHR director: Nothing is happening in electoral system of Belarus


Janez Lenarcic, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, sees no interest of the Belarusian authorities to liberalize the Electoral Code.

On October 13 in Warsaw the chairman of the political council of the United Democratic Forces Anatol Lyabedzka and honorary chairman of the United Civil party Stanislau Bahdankevich met with Janez Lenarcic, Director of the OSCE/ODIHR. As "Radio Svaboda" informs, he and a group of workers of the Office discussed with the Belarusian democrats proposals of the UDF on amendments of the electoral law of Belarus.

Reconsideration of the electoral legislation is one of the five key requirements of the European Union offered to the Belarusian authorities (there are 12 requirements altogether). Jean-Eric Holzapfel, Chargé d'affaires of the Delegation of the European Commission to Belarus, underlined the importance of this process.

Jean-Eric Holzapfel has stated that the EU calls upon Belarus to continue the dialogue with the OSCE/ODIHR.

In his turn, Anatol Lyabedzka noted that the OSCE representatives are disappointed by the way the Belarusian side views their recommendations.

"Lenarcic’s position on the Belarusian situation could be summed up in two short sentences: "Nothing happens. The process makes no headway". These are his words. Hopes have been exaggerated, there was optimism after Lenarcic visited Minsk in the beginning of the year, and then experts of the Office came. After meetings with high-ranking Belarusian officials, including Makei, they had an impression that the Belarusian authorities really sincerely want to change the legislation and law enforcement practice. But no positive steps have taken place after that. Last communications took place in May. And after that there hasn’t been any news," Anatol Lyabedzka said.

So what the opposition demands? Stanislau Bahdankevich accentuates two main demands out of all.

"It is transition from majority voted system of election of the lower chamber of the parliament to the mixed majoritarian-proportional electoral system," Bahdankevich said. "It means that half of deputies is elected as before in multi-mandate constituencies, while half from political parties. It means that parties become a subject of the electoral process automatically. The second requirement is connected to vote count. It should be transparent and public. Ballot votes should be counted by one member of a commission, he shows them to other members of the commission and to observers".