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18 Jan 2018

Foreign diplomats to observe local elections in Belarus

MINSK, 18 January (BelTA) – Foreign diplomats will be able to observe the local elections in Belarus starting from 13 February (the date when early voting begins). They will get the corresponding observer IDs, BelTA learned from the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus.

According to the CEC, the term for observation powers of a foreign diplomat at the local elections will last from 13 to 18 February, inclusively.

Foreign observers, when visiting election commissions and polling stations, shall present their observer and personal IDs. They have the right to meet with candidates to the local councils, their proxies, representatives of political parties and other public associations, to be present at the sealing of ballot boxes, and stay at the voting premises during the summing up of the results. It is also allowed to be present at early voting, home voting, to observe the issuance of ballots, and both during early voting and election day to receive information on the number of voters listed and those who have already cast their votes.

The CEC reserves the right to deprive the observer of accreditation in case of violation of the Belarusian legislation or universally recognized principles and norms of international law.

Earlier, Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission Lidia Yermoshina said that U.S. diplomats accredited in Belarus expressed a wish to observe the local elections and addressed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Central Election Commission with the corresponding request. These are currently nine employees of the American embassy, ​​including the charge d'affaires. Diplomats from other countries have also expressed their desire to participate in the short-term observation of the country’s election campaign.

The local elections in Belarus are scheduled for 18 February. Early voting will be available from 13 to 17 February. More than 18,000 deputies of local councils will be elected in Belarus. A total of 22,713 people registered as candidates.

Long-term international missions usually work in Belarus during the presidential and parliamentary elections. However, foreign diplomats accredited in the country have the right to take part in the short-term observation of the local elections. Fifty foreign diplomats observed the elections in 2010, and 15 – in 2014.

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