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30 Jun 2015

Parliament approves 11 October 2015 as Belarus president election date

Parliament approves 11 October 2015 as Belarus president election date

MINSK, 30 June (BelTA) – The Belarus president election will take place on 11 October 2015. The decision was made by the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus on 30 June, the final day of the parliament’s seventh session, BelTA has learned.

Addressing the lower chamber of the Belarus parliament on 30 June, Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Lidia Yermoshina reminded that the election will involve a novelty — pre-election campaigning can now be financed by the electoral funds that the candidates can establish.

“With this in mind the possible size of the electoral fund that a presidential candidate can have has been increased from 3,000 base amounts to 9,000 base amounts. At present the sum stands at Br1.620 billion or about $105,000,” said Lidia Yermoshina.

The candidate’s contribution to the electoral fund is now unlimited. “Now a candidate can fill the entire electoral fund with his or her own money and finance the entire campaign. In the past candidates were allowed to contribute 50 base amounts at most,” explained the CEC head.

Lidia Yermoshina also pointed out that these electoral funds can be set up as soon as initiative groups are established for the sake of financing the collection of signatures. “We believe the novelties that grant more opportunities for financing campaigning will result in the legalization of many expenses incurred by candidates or potential candidates,” she said.

In accordance with the Belarus Constitution the president is elected for five years and assumes office after taking the oath. Presidential elections are scheduled by the lower chamber of the Belarus parliament at least five months in advance. A presidential election is scheduled for a Sunday and has to take place at least two months before the current president’s term of office expires. The current Belarus president took the oath on 21 January 2011 and therefore the next election is supposed to take place on Sunday, 15 November 2015 at the latest.

A person, who is born as a citizen of the Republic of Belarus, is at least 35 years of age, is entitled to vote, and has lived in Belarus for at least ten years right before the election, can run for the presidency. Persons that have a previous conviction cannot run for the presidency. Candidates can be nominated by Belarus citizens. A candidate has to collect at least 100,000 signatures in his or her support. The initiative group has to include at least 100 people. Candidates for the presidency are registered by the Central Election Commission of Belarus (CEC). The registration begins 35 days before the election date and ends 25 days before the election date. A candidate can appoint up to 30 authorized representatives to help with the organization of the election campaign, assist with campaigning and represent the candidate’s interests in the course of interaction with government agencies, public associations, voters and election commissions.

Candidates are allowed to set up their own electoral funds for the sake of financing the expenses that campaigning requires. The fund cannot exceed 9,000 base amounts. The funds can be formed at the expense of the candidate’s own money, voluntary contributions by Belarus citizens and corporations. The money can be used to make printed materials for campaigning (posters, leaflets and so on). In turn, the CEC makes general posters with biographic data about the candidates in addition to information materials that will be distributed among voters.

Pre-election campaigning can be done via assemblies, rallies, mass media, and meetings with voters. For the sake of arranging meetings with voters municipal government agencies have to contact election commissions in order to gratuitously provide premises for the meetings with voters. Apart from that, candidates and their authorized representatives can arrange outdoor events (open-air rallies, meetings, picketing) after notifying the authorities for the sake of campaigning in the places chosen by the municipal government agencies with the approval of election commissions.

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