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24 Jan 2017

Belarus ready to continue dialogue with Council of Europe, OSCE to improve electoral practice

STRASBOURG, 24 January (BelTA) – Belarus is ready to continue the dialogue with the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to improve the electoral practice, Andrei Naumovich, Chairman of the Permanent Commission for Human Rights, National Relations and Mass Media of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, said at a session of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on 24 January, BelTA has learned.

“The Belarusian authorities are ready to continue the dialogue and cooperation with the Council of Europe and the OSCE to further improve the electoral legislation and practice,” Andrei Naumovich noted. The fact that the interagency working group under the Belarusian Central Election Commission continues its work attests to this. The experts are working with the recommendations issued by the OSCE/ODIHR after the monitoring of the 2015 presidential election and the 2016 parliamentary elections in Belarus.

The elections to the sixth-convocation House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus took place on 11 September 2016. The Belarusian parliament invited PACE to take part in monitoring the elections, even though Belarus is not a member of the Council of Europe. “The Belarusian authorities did their best to ensure a democratic and transparent electoral process compliant with the national legislation and international commitments,” Andrei Naumovich emphasized.

The Central Election Commission introduced a number of changes to the electoral procedure ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections taking into account the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR. The changes affected mostly the formation of electoral commissions and the vote counting and verification procedures. “The 2016 parliamentary elections in Belarus were calm. The electoral campaign saw high competition and increased activity of political parties,” Andrei Naumovich said. The new parliament includes representatives of five political parties. The year 2017 saw the number of party candidates quadruple as against the parliament of the previous convocation.

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