Expert group in Belarus to study OSCE election recommendations


Expert group in Belarus to study OSCE election recommendations

Belarus will create an expert group to study the recommendations of the OSCE. The Belarus President has set such a task 12 February meeting with Chairwoman of the Central Commission for Elections and National Referenda Lidia Yermoshina.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
Mrs Yermoshina, did the OSCE ODIHR present the final report on the 2015 presidential election? Their chief visited us.

Lidia Yermoshina, Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission of Belarus:
Yes, he was here on 28 January. I can say that the report was submitted later than ever. After 3.5 months, on 27 January.

Alexander Lukashenko:
It took them long to prepare it. However, as I noticed, it does not differ from the preliminary report. But there are some proposals to us, right? I would like you to briefly tell me about it.
The second question is the parliamentary elections. What are the challenges?What could we do to prepare in advance?

Lidia Yermoshina:
At a meeting on 28 January with OSCE ODIHR Director Mr. Link (and before that, we met with the head of the short-term observer mission Mr. Härstedt), they expressed the wish that the Republic of Belarus, the official authorities treat their recommendations most seriously. And we always treat them seriously enough, are already working on their recommendations in order to take them into account as much as possible in the preparation for the [2016] parliamentary elections.

Following the meeting it was agreed that an inter-ministerial group of experts under the leadership of the Central Election Commission of Belarus will be set up on 12 February.

Lidia Yermoshina:
I recall that on 27 January this year, the OSCE presented the final report on the elections of the President of the Republic of Belarus, which took place October 11, 2015, where they gave a number of recommendations for improvement of the electoral process in our country. So today's visit is primarily a demonstration of our seriousness. I would like to draw your attention that the Central Election Committee has long been working to study these recommendations and on their practical application in the upcoming parliamentary elections. 
Nevertheless, we believe that there is need for a comprehensive approach to this process involving not only the Central [Election] Committee, but our most competent state bodies on the level of experts, who would also express their position on OSCE suggestions, and also ways of implementing these proposals. Therefore, the President instructed the Central Committee (I think we'll do it today) to promptly create an interdepartmental expert group to study the recommendations of the OSCE and to develop proposals on the application of these recommendations. 
This expert group will work under the guidance of the Central Commission and one month since the beginning of the work should submit to the Election Commission recommendations or suggestions, we call them so, on the position expressed by the OSCE. In view of the proposals the Central Commission will summarize them and come to the head of state on the eve of parliamentary elections with various proposals to improve the electoral process. 
Nevertheless, I can say that, of course, in the near future, we are not talking about changes to the electoral law. These proposals will be implemented by improving enforcement practice, which is determined by the methodological explanations of the Central Commission. 
I want to invite the media to the first meeting of the intergovernmental group of experts, which we plan to hold in the coming Tuesday, 16 February.