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15 Nov 2017

Signature collection named best method of nomination for Belarus’ local elections

MINSK, 15 November (BelTA) – The Belarusian Central Election Commission views signature collection as the most effective method of nomination of candidates for local elections. The statement was made at a session of the Central Election Commission on 15 November, BelTA has learned.

Signature collection is the most effective method of nomination as it has the elements of a candidate’s election campaign, said Galina Mkrtychan, the head of legal affairs, analysis, and methodology at the Central Election Commission. Plenty of mistakes, however, are made in practice. The election process involves new participants who have never dealt with these procedures before. This is why arguments arise.

Signatures can be collected only by members of initiative groups who must carry an ID issued by a relevant election commission and a personal ID. In order to support a candidate, voters put their signatures on the blanks made in the prescribed form by the Election Commission. The signature sheets can also be copied or printed from the commission’s website if need be. The form and size of such a copy shall remain the same.

There are certain legal requirements for signing the signature sheet. First of all, it should contain information about the nominee (surname, name and patronymic, date of birth, post, place of employment, place of residence, and party status). The signature sheets that do not provide this information shall not be collected. Failure to abide by this rule will result in a penalty, including administrative responsibility.

To sign a signature sheet in support of a candidate vying for a seat in the local council, the voter should have a Belarusian citizenship and be at least 18 years old. Russian citizens permanently living in Belarus with a residence permit also have the right to vote in the local elections.

The signature sheet shall contain signatures of the voters living in the district the candidate is competing for. The signatures collected in other districts shall not be valid.

BelTA reported earlier that the candidates are traditionally nominated by political parties, workers’ associations, and citizens by means of signature collection. Persons seeking nomination as candidates must be Belarusian citizens, at least 18 years old, who have no prior criminal record and who live permanently in the relevant unit or are related with it by their occupation. Russian citizens permanently living in Belarus can also be nominated as candidates.In line with the Belarusian legislation, no minimum voter turnout is required for local elections. This is why the candidate who gets the majority of votes shall be elected. Foreign observers are not invited to monitor the elections, diplomats accredited in Belarus being the only exception. In general, the monitoring effort involves national observers, including those from political parties and public associations.


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