New Recommendations of Central Electoral Commissions Complicate Electoral Process
On 3 August 2004 the leader of the “Young Front” Pavel Seviarynets applied to the electoral commission of Vitsebsk Horkawskaya electoral circuit No. 17 for registration of the initiative group for nomination of him to candidate for deputy position at the Chamber of Representatives. However, the head of the commission Sviatlana Menzhytskaya refused to accept the application and the list of the member of the initiative group, explaining her refusal by the fact that the commission was to check the citizenship of every member of the initiative group. That’s why she proposed to Seviarynets to bring her passports of members of his initiative group.
This demand was motivated by the new methodical recommendations, adopted by the Central Electoral Commission that were published in the brochure “Organizational and legal questions of work of circuit electoral commissions on election of deputies to the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus. These recommendations really oblige circuit electoral commissions to check the citizenship of all members of initiative groups before registration of the latter ones.
However, Article 65 of the Electoral Code, that regulates the procedure of registration of initiative group, doesn’t contain such demands.
It’s worth mentioning that registration of an initiative group lasts for 5 days and the minimal number of members, defined by the Electoral Code, is 10 persons.
So, these methodical recommendations can turn into one more way of bureaucratic protraction for registration of initiative groups of candidates (some of which can have even hundred members), when electoral commissions would demand to bring all passports. It’s also quite interesting that the initiative groups are established for taking signatures for a person who intends to become a candidate. It is necessary to collect the necessary number of correct signatures to become a candidate to deputy position. Usually, this is the way independent candidates and candidates of democratic parties are nominated, not official ones.