Human Rights Activist Valiantsin Stefanovich Comments on Changes to Electoral Legislation
The practice must subdue to the legislation, whereas in Belarus it happens so that the Election Code is changed to conform to the existing practice. It means that earlier the Central Election Commission didn’t abide by the law.
Earlier the Election Code had no limitations concerning meetings of candidates and their proxies with the electorate though the CEC anyway considered that such meeting fall under the law on mass actions (and need to be authorized by the local authorities). It means that the CEC exceeded the limits of the code, to which it had no right. However, one can’t speak of development and democratization of the Election Code. None of the propositions given by the OSCE and public organizations were taken into consideration. For instance, the Chamber of Representatives didn’t introduce changes concerning a more detailed procedure of vote counting, extension of the observers’ rights, abolishment of early voting. That’s why the quality of the law hasn’t improved. The fact that election to local deputy soviets will take place in one round is a positive change though, because such elections have never been popular with the electorate.
Thus, some of the adopted amendments to the electoral legislation witness that the Central Election Commission confessed that it had acted in excess of the legal regulations before their adoption.